Icelandic Air Policing

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Icelandic Air Policing
An USAF F-15C Eagle fighter flying over Iceland during an Icelandic Air Policing patrol in April 2015
A USAF F-15C Eagle fighter flying over Iceland during an Icelandic Air Policing patrol in April 2015
Objective Regular patrols of Icelandic airspace
Date Periodically since May 2008
Executed by NATO
Outcome Ongoing

Icelandic Air Policing is a NATO operation conducted to patrol Iceland's airspace. As Iceland does not have an air force, in 2006 it requested that its NATO allies periodically deploy fighter aircraft to Keflavik Air Base to provide protection of its airspace. The first deployment of aircraft took place in May 2008.

Background[edit]

As Iceland does not maintain an air force, the country was left without means to patrol its airspace when the United States Air Force (USAF) ceased deploying fighter units to Keflavik Air Base in September 2006, and the U.S. Iceland Defense Force was withdrawn.[1][2] Following the American withdrawal Russian Air Force 37th Air Army aircraft entered Icelandic airspace on several occasions.[3]

Prime Minister Geir Haarde requested that Iceland's NATO allies assume responsibility for protecting Iceland's airspace during the Riga Summit in November 2006. The North Atlantic Council agreed to this request at its July 2007 meeting.[1] The other NATO member states who lack the ability to patrol their own airspace have similar arrangements in place.[4] In March 2008, Prime Minister Haarde denied that the air policing operation was targeting Russian aircraft, and stated that "it is going to be a general patrolling exercise. We consider Russia to be our friends, by the way".[5]

As of January 2013, NATO had re-designated the deployments to Iceland as being the "Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland's Peacetime Preparedness Needs" mission, and emphasised to reporters that it was focused on training rather than air policing.[6]

Since 2014 the aircraft deployed to Iceland have been placed on Quick Reaction Alert status and flown armed patrols. While these tasks were not previously undertaken, it was decided to commence them in response to the deterioration in relations between Russia and NATO countries following the Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation the War in Donbass.[7]

Deployments[edit]

In contrast with the Baltic Air Policing mission, which involves the continuous presence of fighter aircraft from NATO countries at Šiauliai International Airport in Lithuania and Ämari Air Base in Estonia, the Icelandic Government requested that NATO not maintain a permanent force at Keflavik.[1] Instead, an average of three deployments are made per year, with each lasting from two to three weeks.[8]

As of March 2017, the following deployments have been made to Iceland:[9]

Dates Nationality Unit Aircraft Notes
5 May – 30 June 2008  France EC 01.002 Cigogne 4 x Mirage 2000C[10] Deployment had a strength of 110 personnel[11]
September 2008  United States 48th Fighter Wing ? x F-15C Eagle[12][13]
March 2009  Denmark 727 squadron, 730 squadron and Air Control Wing.[9] 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon[14]
? 2009  Norway Royal Norwegian Air Force[9] ? x F-16AM Fighting Falcon
? 2009  United States United States Air Force[9] ?
8 – 29 March 2010  Denmark 727 squadron, 730 squadron and Air Control Wing. 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon[14][15] This deployment included two ground intercept controllers from the Estonian Defence Forces.[16]
1 – 25 June 2010  Germany Jagdgeschwader 71 6 x F-4F Phantom II[17]
6 – 24 September 2010  United States 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing 8 x F-15C Eagle[18]
28 March – 30 April 2011  Canada 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron 5 x CF-188 Hornet[19][20]
? 2011  Norway Royal Norwegian Air Force[9] ? x F-16AM Fighting Falcon
? 2011  United States United States Air Force[9] ?
5 March – 2 April 2012  Germany Jagdgeschwader 71 6 x F-4F Phantom II[21]
1 May – 7 June 2012  United States 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron ? X F-15C Eagle
 ? X KC-135 Stratotanker
 ? X C-130J Hercules[22][23]
7 August–20 September 2012  Portugal 201 and 301 Squadrons 6 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Detachment had a strength of 70 personnel[24]
18 March – 28 April 2013  Canada 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron 6 x CF-18 Hornet
1 x CC-150 Polaris
Detachment consists of 160 Canadian Forces personnel[25]
7 June – 10 July 2013  Italy Italian Air Force 4th, 36th and 37th Stormo (Wings)[26] 6 x Eurofighter Typhoon
2 x KC-767
1 x C-130J Super Hercules
About 150 personnel deployed[27]
November 2013  United States 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 48th Air Expeditionary Group[28] 6 x F-15C Eagle
2 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
27 January – 21 February 2014  Norway Royal Norwegian Air Force 6 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon[29] About 110 personnel deployed [30]
16 May – 5 June 2014  United States 48th Air Expeditionary Group[31][32] 6 x F-15C Eagle
1 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
About 200 personnel deployed
10 October – 3 December 2014  Czech Republic 211th Tactical Squadron 5 x JAS 39C Gripen 75 personnel deployed[33][34]
17 April 2015 –  United States 871st Air Expeditionary Squadron[35] 4 x F-15C Eagle
1 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
About 200 personnel deployed
27 July – 28 August 2015  Czech Republic 211th Tactical Squadron 5 x JAS 39C Gripen The detachment conducted 91 sorties, and included 8 pilots and 60 other personnel.[36][37]
31 August – 1 October 2015  Denmark RDAF 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon [38]
4 April – 28 April 2016  United States Massachusetts Air National Guard131st Fighter Squadron[39] 4 x F-15C Eagle
1 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
About 160 personnel deployed[40]
30 May 2016 – ??  Norway Royal Norwegian Air Force 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon [41] 4 weeks June 2016 / About 80 personnel deployed
5 October – late October 2016  Czech Republic 211th Tactical Squadron 5 x JAS 39C Gripen 75 personnel deployed[42][43]
16 March – Mid-April 2017[44]  Italy 4th Wing[7] 6 x Eurofighter Typhoon 145 personnel deployed for 3.011 million Euro [45]

A planned deployment of four British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons from No. 3 (F) Squadron in December 2008 was cancelled as a result of the Icesave dispute between Britain and Iceland.[46][47] Poland also cancelled a planned deployment of F-16 fighters to Iceland in 2010 due to the impact of the financial crisis of 2007–2010.[48]

Fighter aircraft deployed to Iceland are accompanied by NATO Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft to enhance the Iceland Air Defence System radar network as well as other supporting aircraft as required.[4]

In addition to the NATO deployments, fighter aircraft from Finland and Sweden have also undertaken training in Iceland.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "French Air Force in Iceland". Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Schogol, Jeff (29 September 2006). "U.S. pledges continued defense help after Keflavik base closes". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Cornwell, Susan (30 May 2008). "Condoleezza Rice defends Guantanamo". Reuters. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Air Policing". NATO Air Command Operations. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Bases, Daniel (14 March 2010). "Iceland sees more Russian flights in N. Atlantic". Reuters. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Jennings, Gareth (2 January 2012). "NATO approves Swedish, Finnish participation in Icelandic mission". Jane's Defence Weekly. 50 (1): 6. 
  7. ^ a b c Jennings, Gareth (20 March 2017). "Italy deploys Typhoons for Icelandic air policing and training". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  8. ^ Skarphéðinsson, Össur (14 May 2010). "Iceland's Interests and a Responsible Foreign Policy (executive summary)" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs. p. 7. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Iceland's "Peacetime Preparedness Needs"". Allied Command Operations. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "News briefs". Air Forces Monthly. No. 243. Avenel, New Jersey: Key Publishing. June 2008. p. 13. ISSN 0306-5634. 
  11. ^ Mackenzie, Christina (6 May 2008). "French Air Defense Umbrella Over Iceland". Ares. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Dewitte, Lieven (5 March 2009). "Four Danish F-16s deployed to Iceland". F-16 Conflict News. F-16.net. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  13. ^ Mladenov, Alexander (August 2009). "The Russian bear gets restless again". Air Forces Monthly. No. 257. Avenel, New Jersey: Key Publishing. p. 63. ISSN 0306-5634. 
  14. ^ a b "F-16s in Operation Iceland Air Policing and Surveillance". F-16 Aircraft Database. F-16.net. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Hansen, Kurt. "Icelandic Air Policing and Surveillance (ISLAPS) for NATO – Royal Danish Air Force is doing it again!". Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  16. ^ TBT staff (9 March 2008). "Estonia to patrol Iceland airspace". The Baltic Times. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  17. ^ "German Air Force ensures protection of the Icelandic Airspace for the first time". Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  18. ^ Linch, Stephen (21 September 2010). "RAF Mildenhall Airmen fuel NATO's Icelandic Air Policing Mission". Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  19. ^ "Operation IGNITION". Past Operations. National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "Canadian Hornets to conduct NATO's Icelandic Air Policing Mission at Keflavik". Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  21. ^ Fiorenza, Nicholas. "Luftwaffe To Police Icelandic Airspace". Ares. Aviation Week. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  22. ^ Horn, Lyndsey (23 May 2012). "Air Force, NATO fly to protect Iceland's air sovereignty". News. US Air Force. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  23. ^ Horn, Lyndsey (23 May 2012). "EFS flies to protect Iceland's air sovereignty". News. U.S. Air Forces in Europe. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  24. ^ ICELAND Air Policing 2012
  25. ^ "Operation Ignition 2013 to help protect Iceland's airspace". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  26. ^ Cenciotti, David. "Italian Typhoons providing NATO air defense capability to Iceland". theaviationist.com. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  27. ^ Cenciotti, David (11 June 2013). "Italy's Typhoon Jets Can Fly Over Iceland Now". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  28. ^ Butler, Dana J. "USAF units combine to create 48th AEG in Iceland". RAF Mildenhall. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "Norwegian jets take on NATO's peacetime preparedness mission over Iceland". News. NATO. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  30. ^ "Luftforsvaret". Facebook. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  31. ^ "US begins Icelandic Air Policing". af.mil. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  32. ^ "Icelandic Air Policing rotation ends". af.mil. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  33. ^ Lazarová, Daniela (10 October 2014). "Czech Air Force takes over surveillance of Icelandic airspace". Radio Prague. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  34. ^ Kominek, Jiri (12 October 2014). "Czech Gripens take on Iceland air policing role". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  35. ^ "US begins Icelandic Air Surveillance and Policing 2015". af.mil. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  36. ^ "Letouny JAS-39 Gripen jsou z Islandu zpět v ČR". Czech Ministry of Defence. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  37. ^ "Gripen fighters return from Iceland". Prague Post. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  38. ^ http://icelandreview.com/news/2015/08/28/four-f-16-fighter-jets-coming
  39. ^ "Total Force arrives to patrol Icelandic skies". U.S. Air Forces in Europe / Air Forces Africa. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  40. ^ Cenciotti, David (31 March 2016). "U.S. Air National Guard F-15s deploying to Iceland and the Netherlands "to deter further Russian aggression"". The Aviationist. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  41. ^ "Norway starting a four week deployment". NATO HQ AIRCOM. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  42. ^ "Czech Air Force returns to Iceland for third NATO mission". Allied Air Command. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  43. ^ "Czech Gripen certified to scramble in Iceland". Allied Air Command. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  44. ^ "Six Italian Typhoons Are Deploying to Keflavik to Support NATO's Iceland Air Policing Mission". The Aviationist. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017. 
  45. ^ http://www.senato.it/service/PDF/PDFServer/BGT/1000608.pdf
  46. ^ "Typhoons in Iceland not forecast". Air Forces Monthly. No. 250. Avenel, New Jersey: Key Publishing. June 2009. p. 8. ISSN 0306-5634. 
  47. ^ Hoyle, Craig (25 November 2008). "UK cancels Typhoon's Icelandic air policing duty". Flight International. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  48. ^ Glowacki, Bartosz; Sobczak, Grzegorz (8 June 2010). "Polish military continues expeditionary focus". Flightglobal. Retrieved 2 October 2010.