Last week, Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornet fighters began operating on NATO’s Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs detachment at Ke flavik, Iceland. NATO fighters have periodically deployed to Iceland under this programme since the US Air Force le Keflavik in 2008.
Each year around three such deployments are undertaken, shared between NATO members, and each deployment typically lasts for a month. During the mission the aircraft are launched to intercept and identify unknown aircraft flying in the Iceland air defence zone.
The RCAF Hornets arrived in mid-May and conducted local familiarisation sorties before beginning airspace surveillance on 22 May. The six aircraft are from 3 Wing at CFB Bagotville, and are accompanied by around 180 personnel, including a detachment of intercept controllers from 22 Wing at CFB North Bay.
The Air Task Force-Iceland mission is part of Canada’s Operation Reassurance, under which forces are deployed to Europe as part of NATO assurance and deterrence missions.
Canadian Hornets previously deployed to Iceland in March/ April 2011 and March/April 2013 as part of Operation Ignition, an Iceland-specific operation that was subsequently rolled into Reassurance. In September, 4 Wing aircraft will deploy from CFB Cold Lake to Romania as part of Operation Reassurance.