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Italian Air Force Returns to NATO Air Policing Mission in Iceland


Italian Air Force Returns to NATO Air Policing Mission in Iceland

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Deployment of Italian Air Force JSF aircraft at Keflavik (Iceland) Air Base completed. The Italian Air Force 32nd Wing- Amendola F-35A aircraft redeployment at Keflavik (Iceland) Air Base is now complete. The aircraft will operate to safeguard the integrity of NATO air space. The Italian aircraft will take part in NATO Air Policing Operation “Northern Lightning II” in Iceland, a country that has no air defence capabilities of its own. The operation will last approximately two months. This is a coming back for the Italian aircraft after their deployment in Iceland in September/October 2019, within the framework of NATO Operation Air Policing Northern Lightning.

Six Lockheed Martin F-35A jets will operate from Keflavik for one month as part of Operation “Northern Lightning II”. The Italian Air Force is deploying its F-35A 5th generation aircraft in Iceland for the second time in less than a year. The Task Force Air 32nd Wing will operate from Keflavik International Airport (KIA) from mid-June to mid-July 2020 as part of Operation “Northern Lightning II”, the Italian contribution to NATO’s Interim Air Policing mission “Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs (ASIC-IPPN)”, more commonly known as Icelandic Air Policing.

Icelandic Air Policing is a NATO operation conducted to patrol Iceland’s airspace. As Iceland does not have an air force, in 2006 it requested that its NATO allies periodically deploy fighter aircraft to Keflavik Air Base to provide protection of its airspace. The first deployment of aircraft took place in May 2008. In contrast with the Baltic Air Policing mission, which involves the continuous presence of fighter aircraft from NATO countries at Å iauliai International Airport in Lithuania and Ämari Air Base in Estonia, the Icelandic government requested that NATO not maintain a permanent force at Keflavik. Instead, an average of three deployments are made per year, with each lasting from three to four weeks.

Italian Air Force Returns to NATO Air Policing Mission in Iceland
For the second time, six Aeronautica Militare F-35As deployed to Iceland to conduct a NATO air policing operation. Italy was the first country to deploy the F-35 to the NATO operation in 2019. (Photo: Italian Air Force)

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