|Icelandic Air Policing|
|Objective||Regular patrols of Icelandic airspace|
|Date||Periodically since May 2008|
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.
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(USAF) ceased deploying fighter units to Keflavik Air Base in September 2006, and the U.S. Iceland Defense Force was withdrawn. Following the American withdrawal Russian Air Force 37th Air Army aircraft entered Icelandic airspace on several occasions.
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. The other NATO member states who lack the ability to patrol their own airspace have similar arrangements in place. 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."
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. Instead, an average of three deployments are made per year, with each lasting from three to four weeks. Most deployments involve four fighter aircraft, though the number varies with some being larger.
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.
Since 2014 the aircraft deployed to Iceland have been placed on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) 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 and the conflict in Donbass, Ukraine.
In 2018, the deployments to Iceland came under the Allied Air Command and were controlled by NATO's northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem in Germany. The Combined Air Operations Centre manages NATO air policing north of the Alps, including by controlling the Baltic Air Policing operation.
In March 2022 it was reported that the Icelandic government was considering whether a continuous air policing presence was required due to the increased threat resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Formal discussions of the matter had not yet taken place.
The following deployments have been made to Iceland:
|5 May – 30 June 2008||France||French Air Force||EC 01.002 Cigognes||4 x Mirage 2000-5F||Deployment had a strength of 110 personnel|||
|September 2008||United States||United States Air Force||48th Fighter Wing||? x F-15C Eagle|||
|4 - 30 March 2009||Denmark||Royal Danish Air Force||727 squadron, 730 squadron and Air Control Wing.||4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||48 personnel deployed|||
|? 2009||Norway||Royal Norwegian Air Force||338 skv & 331 skv||? x F-16AM Fighting Falcon|||
|? 2009||United States||United States Air Force||?||?|||
|1 – 31 March 2010||Denmark||Royal Danish Air Force||727 squadron, 730 squadron and Air Control Wing.||4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||This deployment included two ground intercept controllers from the Estonian Defence Forces.|||
|1 – 25 June 2010||Germany||German Air Force||Jagdgeschwader 71||6 x F-4F Phantom II|||
|6 – 24 September 2010||United States||United States Air Force||493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing||8 x F-15C Eagle||About 200 personnel deployed|||
|28 March – 30 April 2011||Canada||Royal Canadian Air Force||409 Tactical Fighter Squadron||5 x CF-18 Hornet||About 140 personnel deployed|||
|? 2011||Norway||Royal Norwegian Air Force||331 skv||? x F-16AM Fighting Falcon|||
|? 2011||United States||United States Air Force||?|||
|5 March – 2 April 2012||Germany||German Air Force||Jagdgeschwader 71||6 x F-4F Phantom II|||
|1 May – 7 June 2012||United States||United States Air Force||493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron||4 X F-15C Eagle||1 x KC-135 Stratotanker & 1 x C-130J Hercules supported deployment|||
|7 August–20 September 2012||Portugal||Portuguese Air Force||201 and 301 Squadrons||6 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||Detachment had a strength of 70 military personnel|||
|18 March – 28 April 2013||Canada||Royal Canadian Air Force||425 Tactical Fighter Squadron||6 x CF-18 Hornet||Detachment consisted of 1 x CC-150 Polaris & 160 Canadian Forces personnel|||
|7 June – 10 July 2013||Italy||Italian Air Force||4° Stormo - 9° Gruppo||6 x Eurofighter Typhoon||2 x KC-767, 1 x C-130J Super Hercules and about 150 personnel deployed|||
|November 2013||United States||United States Air Force||493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 48th Air Expeditionary Group||6 x F-15C Eagle||
2 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker personnel deployed
|27 January – 21 February 2014||Norway||Royal Norwegian Air Force||338 skv & 331 skv||6 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||About 110 personnel deployed|||
|16 May – 5 June 2014||United States||United States Air Force||48th Air Expeditionary Group||6 x F-15C Eagle||1 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker & about 200 personnel deployed|||
|10 October – 3 December 2014||Czech Republic||Czech Air Force||211th Tactical Squadron||5 x JAS 39C Gripen||75 personnel deployed|||
|17 April 2015 –||United States||United States Air Force||871st Air Expeditionary Squadron||4 x F-15C Eagle||1 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker and about 200 personnel deployed|||
|27 July – 28 August 2015||Czech Republic||Czech Air Force||211th Tactical Squadron||5 x JAS 39C Gripen||The detachment conducted 91 sorties, and included 8 pilots and 60 other personnel.|||
|31 August – 1 October 2015||Denmark||Royal Danish Air Force||?||4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||Detachment had a strength of 60 personnel|
|4–28 April 2016||United States||Massachusetts Air National Guard||131st Fighter Squadron||4 x F-15C Eagle||1 x Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker and about 160 personnel deployed|||
|30 May 2016 – ??||Norway||Royal Norwegian Air Force||?||4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||4 weeks June 2016 / About 80 personnel deployed|||
|5 October – late October 2016||Czech Republic||Czech Air Force||211th Tactical Squadron||5 x JAS 39C Gripen||75 personnel deployed|||
|16 March – 14 April 2017||Italy||Italian Air Force||4° Stormo||6 x Eurofighter Typhoon||145 personnel deployed for 3.011 million Euro|||
|18 May – Mid-June 2017||Canada||Royal Canadian Air Force||433 Tactical Fighter Squadron||6 x CF-18 Hornet||Detachment consisted of 154 personnel|||
|23 August – Late September 2017||United States||Florida Air National Guard||159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron||6 x F-15C Eagle||1 x KC-135, 1 x KC-10 aircraft and personnel from both the Louisiana and Florida Air National Guard. Detachment included approximately 280 personnel.|||
|14 April 2018 - 30 May 2018||Denmark||Royal Danish Air Force||Esk 730||4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||Approximately 60 personnel|||
|30 July - 31 August 2018||United States||United States Air Force||493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron||14 x F-15C Eagle||Included 300 personnel|||
|4 September – 5 October 2018||Italy||Italian Air Force||37° Stormo - 18° Gruppo||4 x Eurofighter Typhoon||120 personnel deployed|||
|11 March 2019 – 11 April 2019||Italy||Italian Air Force||36° Stormo - 10° Gruppo & 12° Gruppo||4 x Eurofighter Typhoon||130 personnel deployed|||
|29 July - 10 August 2019||United States||United States Air Force||480th Fighter Squadron||5 x F-16C||Over 100 personnel deployed|||
|1 – 25 October 2019||Italy||Italian Air Force||32° Stormo - 13° Gruppo||6 x F-35A Lightning II||F-35's first Icelandic Air Policing deployment. 1 x KC-767 supported deployment|||
|13 November – 10 December 2019||United Kingdom||Royal Air Force||No. 1 Squadron||4 x Eurofighter Typhoon||Approximately 100 personnel|||
|21 February – March 2020||Norway||Royal Norwegian Air Force||332 Squadron||4 x F-35A Lightning II||130 military and civilian personnel|||
|9 June – mid-July 2020||Italy||Italian Air Force||32° Stormo - 13° Gruppo||6 x F-35A Lightning II||135 military personnel|||
|13 October 2020 - ?||United States||United States Air Force||493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing||? x F-15C Eagle|||
|22 February – 5 March 2021||Norway||Royal Norwegian Air Force||332 Squadron||4 x F-35A Lightning II||130 military personnel|||
|July 2021||United States||United States Air Force||493rd Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing||3 x F-15C Eagle, 1 x F-15E Strike Eagle|||
|5 August 2021 – 10 October 2021||Poland||Polish Air Force||32nd Air Base||4 x General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon||140 personnel|||
|1 February – 30 March 2022||Portugal||Portuguese Air Force||301 Squadron||4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon||155 military personnel|||
|25 April – 4 July 2022||Italy||Italian Air Force||32° Stormo - 13° Gruppo||4 x F-35A Lightning II
2 x F-35B Lightning II
|130+ military personnel. F-35Bs deployed for one week; 1 x KC-767 & 1 x C-130J supported deployment.|||
|17 August 2022 – Mid-September 2022||Denmark||Royal Danish Air Force||Esk 727 & Esk 730||4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon|||
|20 January 2023 – 9 February 2023||Norway||Royal Norwegian Air Force||332 Squadron||4 x F-35A Lightning II||Approximately 100 personnel|||
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. 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. As part of the terms of an agreement signed in March 2019 between the British and Icelandic governments, the RAF was scheduled to undertake an air policing deployment to Iceland in 2019.
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.
In addition to the NATO deployments, fighter aircraft from Finland and Sweden have also undertaken training in Iceland.
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