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 Dec 11 2019

Royal Air Force redeploys from NATO mission in Iceland

Today, 11 Dec, the Royal Air Force have returned to the UK after completing their first NATO Air Policing Mission in Iceland. Four of the Eurofighter Typhoon jets and a detachment of 129 people have now returned to their home bases at RAF Lossiemouth or elsewhere in the UK.

This has been the first time since World War II that an RAF fighter squadron has been based in Iceland, close to the Arctic Circle. The RAF deployment formed part of the ongoing peacetime air policing mission that NATO conducts at the request of Iceland.

We've achieved the mission, first and foremost, ensuring the integrity of NATO airspace.

Leading the detachment was Wing Commander Mark Baker from 1(Fighter) Squadronbased at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. “We've achieved the mission, first and foremost, ensuring the integrity of NATO airspace. I think we've also developed some excellent relationships with the people of Iceland.”

Commenting on the RAF’s departure, Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland said:“It is safe to say that this first RAF NATO Air Policing peacetime mission in Iceland has been a success.

We appreciate the support from a trusted ally and neighbour, and we look forward to welcoming the RAF back for its next mission in Iceland.”

As well as being on 24-hour stand-by to scramble in response to unidentified aircraft flying towards Icelandic airspace, the Typhoons flew 59 training sorties and conducted more than 180 practice intercepts. The mission is part of NATO’s peacetime Air Policing mission which preserves the integrity, safety and security of the airspace over all European NATO Allies. For NATO member Iceland, which doesn’t have the necessary capabilities to conduct Air Policing, agreements exist to maintain a periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft three to four times a year for three to four weeks. All Air Policing is overseen by NATO’s Allied Air Command, headquartered at Ramstein Germany and controlled by one of NATO’s two Combined Air Operations Centres, in the case of Baltic Air Policing the Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, responsible for all northern European NATO airspace.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

Two of the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon jets scrambling from Keflavik Airbase, Iceland.
 Photo by Cathy Sharples.
A Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft preparing for take-off.
Photo by Cathy Sharples.
The men and women of the Royal Air Force grouped around one of their fighter aircraft. It was the first time for the Royal Air Force to contribute to NATO's Air Policing mission in Iceland.
Photo by Cathy Sharples.

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