The Norwegian Air Force is deploying F-35 jets to undertake NATO’s air policing mission in Iceland.
NATO say that the upcoming deployment of the fighters and some 130 military and civilian personnel will involve 24/7 readiness for the F-35 detachment under NATO’s northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany; Norwegian Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) personnel will be working alongside their Icelandic Coast Guard colleagues in the CRC at Keflavik Air Base.
Norway has manned the mission in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016 with their F-16 fighter aircraft; 2021 was the first deployment of Norwegian F-35s.
“NATO member Iceland ensures constant air surveillance within NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence System including production of the Recognised Air Picture for the airspace over Iceland and the North Atlantic. However, the Ally does not have its own military capabilities to conduct Air Policing. Therefore, since mid-2008 the Alliance has provided periodic peacetime deployments of fighter assets to meet Iceland’s operational needs.”
NATO add that since the beginning of the NATO mission ten Allies (Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States) have manned the regular peacetime deployment showcasing Allied cohesion and solidarity as well as deterrence and defence under the NATO banner.
When I was in Iceland last year, I spoke to people about NATO. People I spoke to, by and large, were quite supportive of Iceland’s relationship with NATO, you can read more about this below.