RAF Typhoons FGR4 have arrived in Iceland where they will spend the next month protecting the airspace as the UK’s contribution to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing Mission. The jet fighters from 1(Fighter) Squadron will be stationed at Keflavik Air Base until mid-December before returning to their home at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
This is the first time in more than 10 years that the RAF has deployed aircraft to Iceland and is also the first time that the RAF has conducted the Icelandic NATO air Policing mission. The mission is being conducted by a rotation of NATO Allies and started in 2008 following a request from Iceland, which does not have its own Air Force.
Commanding the detachment of just over 100 personnel is Wing Commander Mark Baker who said: “We are very excited to be here and are looking forward to starting flying operations. We have come here at the request of the Icelandic Government to provide a capable force designed to offer reassurance and police the country’s airspace.”
Air Vice Marshal Harv Smyth, the Air Officer Commanding 1 Group RAF, which includes 1 (F) Sqn said: “I am proud to see RAF Typhoon Fighters deploying once more to support and defend one of our Allies as part of our on-going commitment to NATO. This deployment is primarily designed to offer re-assurance to our friends, nevertheless, I am confident the Typhoons will secure the Icelandic skies in the same way as we do 24/7 365 at home.” He added: “Their presence makes clear to Allies that we stand by our NATO commitments, of which this is just one of many we offer to the Alliance in order to help preserve Euro-Atlantic security.”
Earlier this year RAF Typhoons were deployed to Estonia where they conducted NATO Baltic Air Policing. In the same country, the UK leads the multinational battlegroup for NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence with around 900 personnel. Elsewhere, a smaller light cavalry deployment supports the US-led eFP Battlegroup in Poland.