US Air Force F-15s Certified Ready to Safeguard Skies over Iceland
US Air Force F-15s Certified Ready to Safeguard Skies over Iceland

US Air Force F-15s Certified Ready to Safeguard Skies over Iceland

On July 14, NATO’s Northern Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany, certified the US Air Force (USAF) F-15 detachment temporarily based in Keflavik, Iceland, ready to conduct NATO Air Policing of the skies in the High North. Fully mission-ready as of Wednesday, July 14, 2021, the US Air Force F-15 detachment will – until the end of the month – be on 24/7 standby with their four fighter aircraft ready to safeguard the skies and continue the long-standing enduring mission of NATO Air Policing over Iceland.

US Air Force F-15s Certified Ready to Safeguard Skies over Iceland
The Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem certification team – USAF Colonel Stephen Carocci (centre) and Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Craig Docker – scrutinised tactics, techniques and procedures of the U.S. Air Force F-15 detachment at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, enabling them to fly NATO Air Policing missions over and near Iceland. U.S. Air Force photo by Rachel Maxwell.

“My Icelandic Coast Guard team has had a long experience in working with Allied fighter detachments since 2008 when NATO’s special air mission began ensuring Iceland’s peacetime preparedness. We are working hand in glove with our colleagues at the CAOC and we have detachment controllers side-by-side with our controllers here at the CRC. Iceland is proud to cooperate with the different Allied detachments each year,” said Captain Jon Gudnason, Commander of the Icelandic Coast Guard.

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US Air Force F-15s Certified Ready to Safeguard Skies over Iceland
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing prepare an F-15C Eagle for a training scramble during NATO Air Policing operations at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland. NATO Air Policing is a peacetime collective defensive mission that safeguards the integrity of NATO alliance members’ airspace. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rachel Maxwell.

“When the US jets arrived last week, the detachment bed down started and, subsequently, the pilots conducted flights over Iceland to familiarize them with airspace. Our team from CAOC Uedem – together with the US air control specialists at Control and Reporting Centre Loki here at Keflavik – exposed the USAF detachment to a challenging programme aimed at reviewing their tactics, techniques and procedures and their readiness for the mission,” said Colonel Stephen Carocci, Director of the Air Operations Centre at CAOC Uedem.

US Air Force F-15s Certified Ready to Safeguard Skies over Iceland
A U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron runs to his aircraft during a training scramble in support of NATO Air Policing operations at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland. Airmen must remain vigilant 24/7 during alert operations in order to respond swiftly to potential threats, protecting the integrity of NATO alliance members’ airspace. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rachel Maxwell.

An Air Operations Center (AOC) is a type of command center used by the United States Air Force (USAF). The United States Air Force employs two kinds of AOCs: regional AOCs utilizing the AN/USQ-163 Falconer weapon system that support geographic combatant commanders, and functional AOCs that support functional combatant commanders. When there is more than one U.S. military service working in an AOC, such as when naval aviation from the U.S. Navy (USN) and/or the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is incorporated, it is called a Joint Air Operations Center (JAOC).

US Air Force F-15s Certified Ready to Safeguard Skies over Iceland
Colonel Carocci watches a U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter aircraft taxi out of its hangar at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, during a training scramble confirming the 48th Fighter Wing detachment is primed and ready to execute NATO’s Air Policing mission in Iceland. U.S. Air Force photo by Rachel Maxwell.
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