U.S. F-15C/D Eagles assigned to the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are deployed to Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, in support of NATO Air Police operations. The United States Air Force assumed full control of NATO’s commitment to the region October 12, 2020.
Air Police operations remain a fundamental component to how NATO provides security to its members. These peacetime missions contribute to the collective defense of alliance nations, like Iceland, Albania, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Montenegro, as the single standard for safeguarding sovereign airspace within NATO’s area of responsibility.
“The routine deployment demonstrates Alliance solidarity and the transatlantic linkage at work,” said U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Andrew Hansen, NATO Allied Air Command Deputy Chief of Staff Operations.
The mission demonstrates NATO’s continued evolution of air agility capabilities and adaptation to meet new security challenges to protect all members. Aircrews stand prepared to monitor and manage Icelandic airspace for the next few weeks as they operate and familiarize themselves with the unique geographical location.
Iceland is one example of special Air Policing arrangements, as they do not have fighter aircraft to conduct Air Policing. Therefore, the Allies, in conjunction with the Icelandic authorities, have agreed that the appropriate response is to maintain a periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft based at Keflavik Air Base to ensure NATO territory is safe and secure.
Upon certification by the CAOC at Uedem, Germany, the U.S. F-15 fighters from RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, will be on 24/7 alert to scramble for Air Policing missions under NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence plan. Icelandic Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force Airmen in the NATO Control and Reporting Centre Loki will control these missions.