It's a special challenge for the Danish Air Force because simultaneously four Danish F-16s are operating out of Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, and four others out off Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania.
|Royal Danish Air Force safeguards Icelandic Airspace.|
Four Royal Danish Air Force F-16 fighter jets are deployed at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, until the end of April to conduct temporary Air Policing safeguarding the airspace of the NATO Ally in the High North.
After arriving on April 11, the Danish F-16 jets and a detachment of approx. 50 air and ground crew as well as support personnel were bedded down at the Keflavik Air Base and started to conduct familiarisation flights. On April 14, a team from NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem certified the detachment’s full operational capability to conduct Air Policing over Iceland. "I am very proud of my people who have prepared everything for this mission at very short notice,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Borre, the detachment commander. "I know that it has been hard to achieve this, and that is why I wholeheartedly thank you for all your successful efforts," he added.
For two weeks, the pilots are now working with the Icelandic Coast Guard surveillance and control officers and the CAOC controllers ready any time to conduct real-time intercept missions e.g. of unidentified aircraft or aircraft experiencing problems.
While in Iceland the jets conduct flying training missions and cooperate with Icelandic Coast Guard units which provide the necessary Search and Rescue capability. They also provide the necessary training for Icelandic and NATO support personnel to make sure the Alliance can conduct a full-scale peacetime Air Policing mission at short notice if required by real-world events.
For Denmark this fourth deployment to Iceland comes as a special challenge, because simultaneously the Royal Danish Air Force is also leading NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission out of Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania with another four F-16 fighter jets (More details here). Both missions will wind down at the end of April, and here in Keflavik, the Icelandic Coast Guard will again continue to provide 24/7/365 air surveillance with its four radar sites integrated into NATO Air Surveillance and Control System until two more Allies will deploy this year for the NATO mission.
Source: NATO Allied Air Command PAO
Images: George Karavantos