Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s have deployed to Keflavik Air Base as part of the UK's contribution to NATO's Icelandic Air Policing mission.
The aircraft, along with just over 100 personnel – belonging to No 1 (Fighter) Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland – deployed to Iceland on November 13. This marks the first time in ten years that the RAF has operationally deployed aircraft to the country, and the first time the air arm has contributed to the Icelandic Air Policing Mission, which began in 2008.
Routine deployments to the region are undertaken by NATO nations, with the RAF relieving a detachment of Aeronautica Militare (AM, Italian Air Force) Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs which deployed to the region in October – as covered by Giovanni Colla in the December issue of Combat Aircraft. The RAF Typhoons will continue the mission until the middle of December.
AVM Harv Smyth, air officer commanding No 1 Group RAF, said: “I am proud to see RAF Typhoon fighters deploying once more to support and defend one of our allies as part of our on-going commitment to NATO. This deployment is primarily designed to offer reassurance to our friends, nevertheless, I am confident the Typhoons will secure the Icelandic skies in the same way as we do 24/7, 365 at home."
Wg Cdr Mark Baker, officer commanding the detachment in Iceland, said: “We are very excited to be here and are looking forward to starting flying operations. We have come here at the request of the Icelandic government to provide a capable force designed to offer reassurance and police the country’s airspace.”
The deployment to Iceland follows the RAF's deployment to Ämari air base, Estonia earlier this year as part of NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission.