For the first time, F-35 aircraft will execute NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission for three weeks in October.
Italy will be the first nation to deploy six of their F-35 fighter aircraft to Keflavik Air Base. For Italy it is the fifth time – and the second time in 2019 – to support this NATO mission that showcases Allied solidarity, readiness and cooperation.
According to NATO in a release:
“After achieving initial operation capability at home in November 2018, the Italian Air Force is now pioneering the utilisation of their modern aircraft for the NATO Air Policing mission. Fully integrated in the community of NATO Allies employing or acquiring modern fighter aircraft the Italian Air Force has proven its capability of exploiting the platform’s multi-role versatility and performance.”
Allied Air Command headquartered at Ramstein, Germany, has a double role in this deployment say the Alliance:
“It is responsible for the overall coordination of the peacetime Air Policing mission and oversees modern aircraft integration with existing aircraft fleets and NATO air command and control arrangements.”
The Italian F-35 aircraft are normally based at Amendola Air Base.
The Italian Air Force detachment is scheduled to work with the controllers at the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany and the Control and Reporting Centre at Keflavik, Iceland. After conducting familiarisation flights and achieving certification for the mission the Italian detachment will protect the airspace over the Ally in the High North until the end of October.