According to the NATO website, four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets have arrived at Iceland’s Keflavik Air Base, and from today (4 September 2018) they will help ensure the safety of Iceland’s airspace.
Over the next few weeks, the Italian pilots will provide intercept capabilities and train together with the Icelandic Coast Guard and the NATO Control and Reporting Centre. The Italian jets will complement the air surveillance which Iceland executes with its four remote radar and communication sites.
This is the third time, after 2013 and 2017, that Italy deploys fighter jets for NATO’s mission in Iceland. In addition to supporting the Nordic Ally, the mission offers a valuable training opportunity for the Italian Air Force, whose crews will practice in a unique geographical location and boost their skills to operate in an unfamiliar airspace.
Iceland does not have a full range of air defence assets, so this mission is executed by other NATO Allies. This ensures that Icelanders enjoy a high standard of airspace security. It also demonstrates the spirit of solidarity among NATO Allies.
Over the past ten years, nine Allies – Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and the United States –have deployed fighter aircraft on the mission in Iceland. Deployments typically last three to four weeks, and take place three times a year. This peacetime defensive mission is overseen by Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany, and controlled by NATO’s northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany.