- For the last three weeks, a Polish Air Force F-16 detachment comprised of technical staff and pilots have, for the first time, conducted NATO's Air Policing mission above Iceland.
The purpose of our NATO deployment was to keep Iceland and its airspace safe and secure
"The purpose of our NATO deployment was to keep Iceland and its airspace safe and secure. We were ready to be launched to ensure the sovereignty of Icelandic airspace and if necessary to assist with civilian airliners needing help in an emergency ", said Lieutenant Colonel Michał Kras, commander of the Polish F-16 detachment n Iceland. "In addition to several patrol flights, my pilots also carried out training flights to maintain continuity of training," he added. In total the Polish pilots spent about 150 hours in the air above the Ally in the High North.
It was in the first time, a Polish Air Force detachment deployed to Iceland. The detachment's flying duties ended on September 27 and the jets redeployed to their home base, 32nd Tactical Air Base in Lask on September 28.
Impressions from three weeks of Polish Air Force providing Air Policing capability to Iceland at Keflavik. The Polish F-16s were ready 24/7 to launch as ordered by Combined Operations Centre Uedem, Germany, to demonstrate Alliance cohesion, vigilance and readiness. Photos by Piotr Gubarnat and Maichal Kolad.
This redeployment completes the NATO fighter deployments to Iceland in 2021 providing in-place fighter assets to patrol the airspace and meet Iceland's peacetime preparedness needs. In 2021, the Polish F-16s were preceded by Norwegian F-35 fighters in early spring and United States Air Force F-15s in the summer. Outside these temporary deployments each year, Icelandic radar stations and the NATO Control and Reporting Centre Loki at Keflavik ensure Iceland's airspace is closely tied into the Alliance's enduring Air Policing mission.