KEFLAVIK, Iceland – For ten years, NATO Allies have continuously provided fighter aircraft on a rotational basis to provide and train interceptors ensuring safety and security of the Icelandic airspace integrating the Ally in the High North into Allied Air Command's Air Policing arrangements.
After the departure of permanently stationed United States forces from Iceland in 2006 and a NATO Military Committee decision in 2007, NATO has maintained periodic Air Policing missions in Iceland on a rotational basis. The mission was named "Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capability to Meet Iceland's Peacetime Preparedness Needs" and uses Keflavik Air Base in the south west of country.
"NATO's Icelandic mission then started in May 2008, when France was the first Ally to deploy four of its Mirage 2000-5 from 01.002 "Cigognes" wing at Luxueil Air Base," says Captain Jon Gudnason, Iceland Coast Guard Commander. "It was an outstanding mission that lasted for over seven weeks and provided a rock-solid foundation for a mission that has been a success to NATO, Allied Nations and Iceland," he added.
Over ten years, nine Allies – Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and the United States – have ensured the NATO mission firmly interlocking Iceland into Allied structures. The mission is overseen by Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany, and controlled by NATO's northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany.
From 2006 on, Iceland had continued and will continue to participate in NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NIAMDS) providing 24/7 air surveillance including production of Recognized Air Picture for the airspace over Iceland and the North Atlantic.
"Additionally, we ensure 24/7 operation of the Iceland Air Defence System, long-range remote surveillance radars and host nation support," Captain Gudnason says. "For Iceland, the only NATO Nation without military forces and a population of 347.000, the decision to periodically receive Allied forces is important for the defence and security of the country and NATO. We appreciate this expression of Allied cohesion and solidarity."
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on information provided by the Icelandic Coast Guard
Check out photos from the nine Allies deploying to Iceland here