Operation Northern Lightning: Italian F-35s in Iceland

In September, Italian Air Force F-35As flew to Iceland on the first NATO air policing deployment of the type. Riccardo Niccoli describes their mission.

A Lightning II from 32° Stormo over central Iceland. The TFA deployed with six aircraft to Keflavík.
All photos Riccardo Niccoli

In recent years, NATO has been providing the air defence of Iceland and its airspace through the occasional deployment of fighter units from its member countries. Iceland is strategically located in the North Atlantic but does not have its own armed forces. Italy has already participated in these ‘Interim Air Policing’ missions several times since 2013 with its Eurofighter F-2000 Typhoons, but the deployment that started on September 23, dubbed Operation Northern Lightning, has a special importance, not only for the Italian Air Force, but for the whole of NATO.

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