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Jul 5 2022

Italy's F-35 detachment in Iceland, "500 hours protecting airspace in High North"

KEFLAVIK, Iceland - The Italian Air Force completed its deployment to Iceland, after executing NATO's peacetime mission here safeguarding the airspace for the third time with 5th generation fighters.

In an official ceremony on July 4, 2022, held at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, the Italian Air Force detachment concluded its mission after sixty days providing NATO intercept capabilities to meet Icelandic peacetime preparedness needs.

During this time, the four F-35A fighter aircraft and approximately 130 men and women of the Italian Air Force were deployed to the Icelandic Coast Guard Air Base of Keflavik for NATO's peacetime Air Policing mission in Iceland. On April 30, the detachment underwent certification by a team of NATO evaluators from the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany, established Full Operational Capability for the mission and provided interceptors on permanent standby to work with Icelandic and NATO Air Surveillance and Control System units.

We conducted joint training with the Icelandic Coast Guard, NATO aircraft and Allied naval forces to enhance interoperability and proficiency

"This mission with our F-35As allowed the Italian Air Force to exploit the aircraft's operational capabilities as well as deployment, logistics and sustainability procedures in a NATO context," said the Detachment Commander, Colonel Gianmarco Di Loreto. "We conducted joint training with the Icelandic Coast Guard, NATO aircraft and Allied naval forces to enhance interoperability and proficiency," he added.

"We flew nearly 30 training scrambles and almost 500 flying hours with 99 percent efficiency on our four jets, demonstrating the great maturity of the F-35 globally and in particular within the Italian Air Force," said the Colonel Di Loreto. "These results are the greatest award to testify the excellent proficiency and teamwork achieved by the whole maintenance and logistics team," he concluded".

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Since the end of April 2022, four Italian Air Force F-35 modern fighter aircraft were have been stationed at Keflavik Air Base to support NATO's deterrence and defence and safeguard the airspace in the High North.  The close cooperation with the Icelandic Coast Guard enabled another successful demonstration of Allied interoperability, solidarity and cohesion. Photos courtesy Italian Air Force.

The Icelandic Coast Guard team has hosted fifth generation aircraft from Italy and Norway for several deployments since 2019. "This present deployment has again demonstrated that Iceland can rely on NATO's solidarity showcased by the modern fighter aircraft Italy has sent here," said Jón B. Guðnason, Commander of Keflavik Air Base.

This demonstrates our combined staffs' professionalism in bedding down, supporting and controlling this advanced capability 

"This demonstrates our combined staffs' professionalism in bedding down, supporting and controlling via NATO Control and Reporting Centre Keflavik this advanced air power capability; the cooperation with Keflavik International Airport and Civilian Air Navigational Service provider, Isavia was a success for the mission, Iceland and NATO," he concluded.

The Italian Air Force F-35A detachment was on stand-by 24/7to safeguard the skies over Iceland and to continue the long-standing enduring mission of NATO Air Policing. This was the third deployment to Iceland of the Italian 5th generation fighters after the ones in 2019 and 2020. Before that, Italy supported the mission with its Eurofighter Typhoon in 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office with input from Italian Air Force and Icelandic Coast Guard

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