Four Typhoon jet fighters have left Iceland as the Royal Air Force completed its first NATO Air Policing mission in the country.

According to the Royal Air Force, this has been the first time since World War II that an RAF fighter squadron has been based in Iceland, close to the Arctic Circle.

“The RAF deployment formed part of the ongoing Air Policing mission that NATO conducts at the request of Iceland, a country five times the size of Wales but with a population of just 360,000 and no military force.”

Wing Commander Mark Baker, 1(Fighter) Squadron, said:

“We’ve achieved the mission, first and foremost, ensuring the integrity of NATO airspace. I think we’ve also developed some excellent relationships with the people of Iceland.”

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, said:

“It is safe to say that this first RAF NATO Air Policing peacetime mission in Iceland has been a success. We appreciate the support from a trusted ally and neighbour, and we look forward to welcoming the RAF back for its next mission in Iceland.”

As well as being on 24-hour stand-by to scramble in response to unidentified aircraft flying towards Icelandic airspace, the Typhoons flew 59 training sorties and more than 180 practice intercepts.

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Julian1
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Julian1

That came and went quickly. How often do Russian aircraft get as far as Icelandic airspace?

DaveyB
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DaveyB

The Tu95 Bear aircraft has a phenomenal range and is the main aircraft found doing navigation exercises in and around the North Atlantic. It’s pretty much at least once or twice a week where they are escorted flying down the west coast of Norway and around the UK and Ireland. Being escorted by Norwegian, Danish and UK aircraft on QRA. They either turn around or fly across the Atlantic to Cuba. They also regularly fly around Iceland and down the east coasts of Canada and USA to Cuba. They have been known to fly around the arctic circle along the… Read more »

Pete
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Pete

Wow… Just checked out Icelands military… Less than 500 full time and reservists and less than 0.25% of GDP. Spend. .!! They have a constitutional block on full blown military but surely they should be contributing a couple of P8 to nato for maritime patrol purposes.

Steve R
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Steve R

I dont know but I would assume they pay something for the NATO presence, similar to how Ireland pays us for their air defence.

geoff
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geoff

Does Ireland pay us for Air Defence Steve?

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

To be fair 360,000 people are unlikely to be able to buy 2 P8’s, but one would hope they contribute something.

Mind you I would also suggest that keeping Iceland safe is very definately in NATO’s interest. Imagine what might happen if the Russian forces controlled Iceland! NATO would be cut in two, never a good situation for a defence force to be in.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Red Storm Rising…!

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Yeh, that makes the point 🙂

On serious note I though it was interesting that it has taken this long for the RAF to return to Iceland. During WW2 the US took over from the British pretty quickly on account we invaded a neutral country to protect our sea lanes to North America and were less than popular!

geoff
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geoff

Not to mention the Cod Wars..!!

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Yeh, I remember watching that on the TV as a kid. The Icalandic coast guard ships ramming RN frigates. They got scratched paint and some of our frigates came away holes in them!

Heidfirst
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Heidfirst

& then we sued them to regain UK citizens cash from the Icelandic financial crash …

AndyB
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AndyB

Exactly. The UK needs to pull out of the old NATO AF Central area and abandon its continental armour first strategy. One, perhaps one and a half understrength armoured / mechanised divisions adds nothing to NATO defence against Russia in the East. That role should be left to Germany, Poland and France et al., Instead the UK should place all its efforts in heading up AF North, its key strategy and role being to reinforce Norway and defend the GIUK gap. Our forces would be augmented by the assigned forces of Norway, Canada, USMC and possibly even Sweden too. So… Read more »

Wayne
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Wayne

We are not alone in dealing with the Atlantic. NATO have more than enough Naval and Air assets to deal with Russia. I agree the Navy could do with a few more escorts. We also have one of the most deployable and survivable Arrmoured Infantry Divisions in the world. Why would we deprive NATO of that?

AndyB
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AndyB

Deployable – yes; survivable – probably not. The reality is that we have 30 year old tanks which haven’t been upgraded in a generation, and IFV’s in equally as bad a state. Add to that virtually non existent regimental artillery, divisional fire broken down into sub units and no reliable full coverage anti-aircraft defence, what do you have…. a force which could be wiped out in an afternoon, with very little to reinforce it. In the same period, Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks have had two complete upgrades. Britain historically has never been a continental power. We don’t have a large… Read more »

Wayne
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Wayne

We could probably go back and forward on this for a while. I agree that we desperately need to upgrade our vehicle fleets but thats no reason to get rid of them. The upgrades are on the way.
While we have not been a huge continental army we have had a large army looking after the empire. I prefer a balanced force based on the needs of the nation. Those needs have required all three services and I am sure will still all three for a long time to come.

Cam
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Cam

Why would Russia invade Iceland. I suppose it’s good training for the RAF but did they do any real intercepts? Pointless.

julian1
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julian1

Russia has a well stated plan to control the Arctic. I don’t think anyone is talking about Russians invading but they may want to deny Iceland being used to hinder their activities

AndyB
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AndyB

Two reasons, one by doing so and being able to deploy its Backfire fleet from the airbases there – it can project deep into the North Atlantic. Secondly by destroying a new GIUK gap, it can surge its new subs into that same area. Denying the use of the North Atlantic slows down potential US and Canadian reinforcement of Western Europe. NATO’s weakness is that its strongest component is 6,000kms away. Russia can put 150,000 men in the field in 72 hours, with significant armour, mobile artillery and air support, and keep them in the field for 28 days, with… Read more »

Cam
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Cam

Europe should have a huge strike army of say 100,000 to counter that threat, we have more than enough gear and men, all be it mixed gear, but I would say Europe’s easily stronger than Russia, the EU navy’s huge for starters, and isn’t the EU the second strongest on earth.

DaveyB
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DaveyB

Totally agree, I am surprised that during WW2, Germany did not at least attempt to take the island after they took Norway. It would have put the UK in a very bad position, especially if they stationed U-boats there.

Bob2
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Bob2

Does Russia have 150k of forces ready to dedicate to a European war? Would this leave its Siberian oil fields under defended? I am not sure I would trust china (or the US) not to taken them and therefore all of Russia’s money. Retaking the Baltic countries would not be compensation for this financial loss.

Robert blay
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Robert blay

They won’t send Typhoons for no reason.

geoff
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geoff

..or they might even send Typhoons for a reason Robert?

Daniel
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Daniel

A bit unnecessary, don’t you think? The use of doublenegatives for effect as in this case is perfectly acceptable in modern English. Wihist your alternative phrase does essentially say the same thing as Robert’s original point, the use of the double negative in this case is better as it subtly provides the reader with information about the context.

geoff
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geoff

You are absolutely correct Daniel-I was only taking the Mick so if I have offended I definitely will not not apologise!

Cheers

Robert blay
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Robert blay

Yes. The NATO air policing mission as it happens. 👍

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Read Red Storm Rising Cam. It’s all too plausable.

AndyB
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AndyB

Great book and also The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears too. Early Tom Clancy / Jack Ryan stuff was first class. Try Harold Coyle too.

Bob2
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Bob2

It has been 20ish years since I read the book, but if I remember correctly the Russians sent a light infantry force hidden aboard civilian merchant ships.

The flight of US f15s were unable to stop them landing and they took the NATO airbase. However, they soon surrendered when a battalion of US marines landed, as the marines had armour.

I was just wondering if NATO just deploy aircraft to Iceland or do we also deploy any land forces? There appears to be some parallels with fortress falklands.

Bob2

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

I’ve never heard of land forces there myself. May well be wrong.

Mark B
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Mark B

Pete, I think Iceland gets special dispensation. Their strategic position for NATO is of more benefit to NATO the any 2% they might contribute. If I remember correctly when they joined.

Mark B
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Mark B

Obviously I don’t remember when they joined as I’m not that old …