Norwegian F-35s in Iceland for airspace surveillance

A file photo of Norwegian F-35s at the Iceland Air Policing mission in 2023. (Ole Andreas Vekve/Forsvaret)

Norwegian F-35s, along with personnel, will arrive in Iceland on Monday for airspace surveillance, Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday. 

“This will be the eighth time that Norwegians have contributed to the project,” the government said.

In all, Norway will have approximately 120 personnel and four F-35 fighter jets in Iceland to participate in the mission.

The personnel includes pilots, along with administrative, technical, security, and operational support staff.

The Iceland Air Policing mission will be based at at Keflavík Airport. 

Approach exercises are also planned from Jan 15-24 from airports in Akureyri and Egilsstadir.

Quick action alerts

Iceland has no standing armed forces, and relies on NATO allies to conduct Iceland Air Policing missions three times a year on a rotational basis.

“Our participation in Iceland Air Policing shows our willingness to support NATO and our increased ability to solve missions with fighter aircraft both domestically and abroad,” Norwegian Squadron Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth “Chain” Vika, said in a statement this week.

Norwegian force protection during Iceland Air Policing in 2021. (Ole Andreas Vekve/Norwegian Armed Forces)

The Norwegian forces says the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission is a crucial component of airspace surveillance.

This mission encompasses air traffic and airspace monitoring, as well as the identification, documentation, and potential escort of unknown aircraft out of Icelandic airspace and, if required, beyond the NATO area.

The Iceland Air Policing mission will last until approximately mid-February.

Staff from NATO control centers in Udem, Germany, will also participate.

Comments, tips or story ideas? Contact Eilís at eilis.quinn(at) 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: U.S. report claims Trudeau told NATO Canada will never meet military spending target, CBC News

Denmark: Denmark promises increased focus on Arctic as it takes over NORDEFCO chair, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland invites American troops to bases in Lapland, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: British & Norwegian F-35s scrambled in North to intercept Russian military plane, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Putin beefs up naval nuclear arsenal, promises more subs, The Independent Barents Observer

United Kingdom: UK urged to bolster Arctic defense as grey-zone threats rise: report, Eye on the Arctic

United States: First U.S. deep water port for the Arctic to host cruise ships, military, The Associated Press

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