Italy deploys F-35 jets to Iceland to enhance NATO collective defense

Italy deploy F35 Iceland
Italian Air Force F-35A combat aircraft conduct training over Iceland.

April 25, 2022 - An Italian Air Force F-35A fighter detachment deployed to Iceland today in support of NATO's enduring Air Policing efforts in the High North.

Based at the Amendola air base, Italy, the modern F-35A fighters will remain deployed for two months in Iceland to provide airspace surveillance in the area. The authority over the fighters will rest with NATO's Allied Air Command; the Northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, which will tactically control detachment operations and tie them into the Alliance's collective security arrangements.

"After being the first Ally to deploy fifth generation fighters on a NATO mission abroad, Italy demonstrates a sustained capability to provide modern fighter aircraft to Alliance operations," said Colonel Gianmarco Di Loreto, Commander of the Italian F-35A Task Force Air in Iceland. Our F-35A aircraft have already gained considerable international experience by participating in NATO's Air Policing missions in Iceland, but also Estonia. Staffs have also executed the national QRA duty from their home base and will continue to train crews to protect national and Alliance skies," added Colonel Di Loreto.

Italy deploy F35 Iceland

According to the Icelandic Coast Guard leadership, "the ongoing NATO operation in Iceland is specific and unique. Given its geographical location, Allies, in conjunction with the Icelandic authorities, have agreed that the appropriate arrangement to help keeping Icelandic airspace safe and secure is to maintain a periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft based at NATO Keflavik Air Base." The focus of the "peacetime preparedness mission" is to carry out routine flying training and exercises for the Alliance to meet Iceland's requirements and needs to stay prepared, to monitor and to manage its airspace in peacetime.

The Italian Air Force detachment is comprised of more than 130 women and men and four F-35A fighter jets including pilots, ground crew, support and force protection personnel. This is the third deployment of Italian fifth generation fighters to Iceland after 2019 and 2020. Before that, Italy supported the mission with the Eurofighter Typhoon to safeguard the airspace above the Ally in the High North In 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Source: Allied Air Command PAO
Image: Italian Air Force

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