As part of increased cooperation between the UK and Iceland, a detachment of Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel visited Iceland with an Airbus A400M Atlas C1 heavy-lift tactical transport and a Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft on October 12.
Following a training mission in the Greenland, Iceland and UK gap, the Poseidon MRA1 landed at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland. After landing in Iceland, AVM Allan Marshall - the air officer commanding 1 Group - met with senior Icelandic government personnel and senior UK diplomats.
Conversations included the discussion of opportunities to enhance Poseidon training operations in the Icelandic region. The ambassadors of Norway and Poland were also in attendance to discuss the shared interest of NATO members operating in the region.
As part of the visit, personnel from No 19 Squadron RAF - the UK's Control and Reporting Centre - had a tour of the Icelandic equivalent organisation. The two teams who share air policing roles discussed methods and tactics to best share information and to maximise each other’s effectiveness of policing the region’s airspace.
The UK Ambassador to Iceland, Bryony Mathew said: "The visit provided an opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the UK and Iceland, in areas of mutual interest, whilst improving our understanding of how the Poseidon MRA1 can provide additional support to the Icelandic Coast Guard."
The visit made by the maritime patrol aircraft and its crew marked the first overseas land away for the RAF Poseidon MRA1. The visit also provided the RAF to make a significant step forward in the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) programme.
ACE is a concept which focuses on the development of multi skilled personnel with self-sufficient capabilities that can be interoperable with allied nations, enabling the RAF to operate from multiple dispersed locations at short notice.
Marshall said: "Agile Combat Employment provides the RAF with a major opportunity to develop its current approach to operations to enhance capabilities, resilience and agility. The development of cross-functional teams, as part of the Agile Combat Employment concept, will require our people to become multi-skilled in areas outside of their primary role."