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 Aug 13 2019

United States Air Force right into NATO Air Policing mission in Iceland

RAMSTEIN, Germany – United States Air Force F-16C fighter aircraft and 130 Airmen from 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spandahlem Air Base, Germany, are currently deployed at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland. The team conducts air surveillance and training flights under NATO’s mission to meet Iceland’s peacetime preparedness needs under tactical control of NATO’s Combined Air Operation Centre (CAOC) Uedem, Germany. 

During their deployment, the F-16C fighters conducted real-world scrambles identifying Russian Federation Air Force bombers flying close to Iceland in international airspace. “The multi-nation NATO Air Policing mission is going extremely well,” said Captain Dominic Collins, detachment commander of the United States Air Force F-16 fighter detachment in Iceland. “Thanks to the countless long hours of training that were invested by all members, we were able to successfully scramble our fighters to intercept two Russian bombers in the NATO area of responsibility.”

“In addition to our own internal flight training, we also accomplished a joint-integration mission with the Royal Danish Naval vessel HDMS Hvidbjornen,” he added. “The mission has been a huge success from both a system interoperability standpoint as well as validating common Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures. Overall, we are succeeding at our mission as a NATO team, and having fun doing it. I am excited for the next few weeks and all the great training opportunities that lie ahead,” Captain Collins concluded.

The mission has been a huge success from both a system interoperability standpoint as well as validating common Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures.

After successful certification by the CAOC to conduct the mission, the detachment has been focusing on providing air surveillance and interception coverage over Iceland, in order to maintain the integrity of NATO’s airspace in the High North. The mission provides pilots and crew the opportunity to plan, prepare and execute realistic training in an unfamiliar airspace. Successful North Atlantic operations are fundamental to the enduring relationship between NATO and the United States; to guarantee the success of the mission, Iceland provides infrastructure, access and airspace. 


Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

United States Air Force Captain Alex Travors, F-16C Fighting Falcon pilot, performs pre-flight checks as part of scramble training at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland during certification for NATO's Air Surveillance and Policing mission here. Photo by A1C Jovante Johnson
United States Air Force Airman 1st Class Delia Otoole, 52nd Air Mobility Squadron crew chief, signals an F-16C Fighting Falcon to move forward during in an aircraft shelter at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland. The US Air Force fighter deployment gives the U.S. and NATO the ability to plan, prepare and execute joint and multinational training in a real-time, realistic North Atlantic setting. Photo by Airman 1st Class Jovante Johnson
Intercept of a Russian Tu-142 Bear F near Iceland - "Thanks to the countless hours of training invested by all members, we were able to successfully scramble our fighters to intercept two Russian bombers in the NATO area of responsibility.”said Captain Dominic Collins, detachment commander of the United States Air Force F-16 fighter detachment in Iceland. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

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