An Italian Air Force F-35A fighter detachment is lined up to deploy to Iceland in support of NATO’s enduring Air Policing efforts in the High North. Based at Amendola Air Base, Italy, the modern F-35A fighters are being prepared for their two-month deployment to NATO’s Ally Iceland for the scheduled routine mission of providing interceptor aircraft to support Icelandic air surveillance. The authority over the fighters will rest with NATO’s Allied Air Command; the Northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, will tactically control detachment operations and tie them into the Alliance’s collective security arrangements.
“After being the first Ally to deploy fifth generation fighters on a NATO mission abroad, Italy demonstrates a sustained capability to provide modern fighter aircraft to Alliance operations. Our F-35A aircraft have already gained considerable international experience by participating in NATO’s Air Policing missions in Iceland, but also Estonia. Staffs have also executed the national QRA duty from their home base and will continue to train crews to protect national and Alliance skies,” said Colonel Gianmarco Di Loreto, Commander of the Italian F-35A Task Force Air in Iceland.
According to the Icelandic Coast Guard leadership, “the ongoing NATO operation in Iceland is specific and unique. Given its geographical location, Allies, in conjunction with the Icelandic authorities, have agreed that the appropriate arrangement to help keeping Icelandic airspace safe and secure is to maintain a periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft based at NATO Keflavik Air Base.” 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.
The Italian Air Force detachment is comprised of more than 130 women and men and four F-35A fighter jets including pilots, ground crew, support and force protection personnel. This is the third deployment of Italian fifth generation fighters to Iceland after 2019 and 2020. Before that, Italy supported the mission with the Eurofighter Typhoon to safeguard the airspace above the Ally in the High North In 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019.