The Polish Air Force (Sily Powietrzne) will deploy four F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft to Iceland for NATO’s Air Policing mission in the High North. The Polish Air Force deployment will consist of airmen, auxiliary personnel and four F-16 fighter aircraft assigned to the 32 Tactical Air Force Base, located in Lask, Poland, that will operate out of Keflavik Air Base, Iceland for three weeks in September 2021. This is the first time for Polish fighter aircraft to join the NATO mission in the High North.
Given its unique geographical location, Allies, in conjunction with the Icelandic authorities, have agreed that the appropriate response is to maintain a periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft based at Keflavik Air Base (KAB) to help keep Icelandic airspace safe and secure. The focus of the “peacetime preparedness mission” is to carry out routine flying training and exercises for the Alliance to meet Iceland’s requirements and needs to stay prepared, to monitor and to manage its airspace in peacetime.
In 2006, the United States ended its permanent air policing mission over Iceland. The US mission was replaced by a system whereby Allies periodically deploy fighter aircraft to Keflavik Air Base to provide protection of Icelandic airspace. The first deployment under the mission to meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs took place in May 2008. Poland is the eleventh Ally to ensure NATO has certified intercept aircraft that can deploy to Iceland integrating the regional airspace into Alliance-wide enduring Air Policing arrangements.
In past years, the mission here has been executed by the Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. NATO Air Policing is a peacetime mission, which aims to preserve the security of Alliance airspace. It is a collective task and involves the continuous presence – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – of fighter aircraft and crews, which are ready to react quickly to possible airspace violations.