The four Norwegian F-35s from Ørland, Norway at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland have been certified by the Combined Air Operations Centre, Uedem, Germany, enabling the Norwegians to continue their watchful eye in the High North. Air Policing is a 24/7/365 days peacetime mission, which Norway is already doing with their Quick Reaction Alert from Evenes Air Base in Norway. Their rotation to Iceland is ensuring full coverage of the High North region. The high north is a territories of Nordic countries (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States) located throughout the Arctic beyond the Polar Circle.
“It is important for Norway, being a NATO ally, to be a firm supporter of the Alliance and to show our commitment, willingness and capability in such a mission at Iceland”, said Detachment Commander Lieutenant Colonel Trond Haugen. “As a small country in NATO, we are also obliged to participate and make sure we do our part in the Alliance,” he continued.
Iceland’s geography makes the country a key NATO ally in a particular position. These periodic rotations in Iceland provide opportunity for NATO nations to train in all existing weather conditions. Cooperating with the Icelandic Coast Guard, Norway will demonstrate the importance of surveillance and sovereignty in NATO’s airspace. 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, monitor and manage its airspace in peacetime.
In 2008, the government of Norway selected the F-35A Lightning II as the replacement for their F-16 fleet. In 2012, Norway increased their program of record quantity by four aircraft and at the same time, accelerated deliveries to begin training pilots and maintainers two years earlier. The Royal Norwegian Air Force operates F-35A variant aircraft that include a drag chute to assist with landing in icy and slick conditions and to reduce landing distance on short airfields. Norway’s program of record is for 52 F-35 aircraft. Norway’s F-35 fleet operates out of Ørland Air Base. In addition, a Quick Reaction Alert base is being stood up at Evenes Air Base.