Fighter jets from the United States and Turkey are taking up NATO Air Policing duties this week, guarding the skies over Iceland and over the Baltic region. On Wednesday (7 July 2021) four US F-15 landed at Keflavik airbase to conduct Air Policing over Iceland. Once certified by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, the US jets are on standby to scramble at moment’s notice to keep Iceland’s airspace safe. On Tuesday (6 July 2021), four Turkish F-16 arrived at Malbork air base in Poland to work with the Polish air force in securing the skies in the region.
“We thank our Allies the United States and Turkey for contributing to NATO’s Air Policing missions. Air Policing helps keep our skies safe and secure round the clock. This is a clear example of Alliance solidarity in action, demonstrating that NATO has the capabilities and the resolve to protect all Allies”, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu.
The Turkish jets and their 80 support personnel will remain until mid-September. Across Europe, NATO fighter jets are on duty around the clock, ready to scramble in case of suspicious or unannounced flights near the airspace of NATO Allies. This includes Air Policing missions in which fighter detachments rotate in and out of allied countries to help safeguard their skies. NATO scrambled its air forces across Europe more than 400 times in 2020 to intercept unknown aircraft – mostly from Russia – approaching NATO airspace.