Italy deployed F-35A Lightning IIs operationally for the first time in October to undertake the NATO air policing mission safeguarding Iceland’s airspace, and Combat Aircraft was granted exclusive access to the detachment at Keflavík.

Two 32° Stormo F-35As fly over typical Icelandic terrain during ‘Northern Lightning’ in October.

WITH ITS REMOTE geographical location and total lack of organic air defense capabilities, Iceland relies completely on its NATO allies for air policing. A periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft at Keflavík air base is viewed as being sufficient to maintain the integrity of its airspace. In contrast with the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission, which involves continuous coverage, the Icelandic government has consistently only requested an average of three annual deployments, with each lasting for three to four weeks.

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