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 May 29 2020

Canada completes Operation Illumination in Iceland

RAMSTEIN, Germany – The Canadian Armed Forces concluded the deployment of a Royal Canadian Air Force detachment and a mobile air surveillance radar system to Iceland with redeploying all personnel and materiel to Canada this week. 

The mission of Operation ILLUMINATION was to ensure continuity of long-range radar coverage while Iceland’s stationary radars underwent an upgrade.

“Throughout our deployment under Operation ILLUMINATION, the members of Air Detachment-Iceland have demonstrated unparalleled professionalism and flexibility at every turn; I am proud to have commanded such an exemplary group,” said Major Jonathan Gilbert, Commanding Officer, Air Det-Iceland/Operation ILLUMINATION. “Our mandate since we began operations has been to support Iceland while the country modernized its surveillance radar systems, which are of strategic importance to NATO as the radars provide situational awareness in the middle of the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap,” he added. 

Our mandate since we began operations has been to support Iceland
 “Overseas deployments provide Royal Canadian Air Force personnel with an opportunity to use and showcase their skills and expertise,” Major Gilbert said looking back at the three-month inter-Allied deployment. 

“They also demonstrate Canada’s commitment to NATO to promote stability in the North Atlantic and to preserve the freedom of the peoples of that region in accordance with the core principles of democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

After having operated the AN/TPS-70 radar successfully at two of the Icelandic Coast Guard sites and effectively monitoring Icelandic coastal approaches, the 25-strong team redeployed and arrived in Canada on May 26, 2020. In the evening of May 14, the operations finished and the detachment redeployed to Keflavik Air Base on a 500-km road move. Intercontinental redeployment to 3 Wing at Bagotville, Canada, took place via airlift with CC-130J and CC-177 transport aircraft.

“I would like to thank the members of the Icelandic Coast Guard for their hospitality and for their support as we have worked together through the challenges of COVID-19,” stated Major Gilbert. “I would also like to thank our families, friends, and colleagues for their unconditional support; without them this mission would not have been possible,” he concluded.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

The Royal Canadian Air Force AN/TPS-70 radar during operations at H3 Radar Site at Stokksnes on the southeastern Icelandic coast. Photo couretsy Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force technicians installing the AN/TPS-70 radar for operations in Iceland, Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Air Force.
Duirng the Royal Canadian Air Force Operation ILLUMINATION the detachment had to conduct road moves between radar site locations in Iceland -  a valuable opportunity to train the deployability of the whole system and team. Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Air Force.
Starting the redeployment to Canada, the detachment staff oversaw loading of equipment into a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130J at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland. Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Air Force.

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