NATO flies with partners over Iceland for first time
Fighter jets from NATO and partner countries began to conduct a wide range of air defence-related flying activities over Iceland on Monday (3 February 2014), in the first event of its kind to be held on the island.
A Swedish JAS Gripen lands in Iceland to join the Air Meet. Photo Louise Levin / Swedish Armed Forces
The Iceland Air Meet 2014 (IAM2014) brings together participants from NATO members Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and the United States, and from partner countries Finland and Sweden, supported by NATO AWACS.
“This is a further step forward in NATO’s excellent cooperation with Finland and Sweden: the first time that we have flown together over Iceland,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
The ability to operate with countries from beyond the Alliance is one of NATO’s core capabilities. The training event, which comes in the context of Nordic defence cooperation (NORDEFCO), reinforces that ability.
The activities covered by IAM2014 will include air combat training between dissimilar aircraft types, counter-air operations and high-value airborne asset attack and protection.
“Thanks to this training event, our pilots, ground crews and fighter controllers will be better trained, more experienced, and better able to deploy and operate together, if needed,” the Secretary General said.
Norway, Finland and Sweden are sending fighter aircraft and support aircraft to the meet. The United States and the Netherlands are providing air-to-air refuelling assets, while Iceland is providing host nation support, including Search and Rescue capabilities.
NATO is coordinating the event through its combined air operations centre (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany. Norway is providing the training director for the event. The Finnish and Swedish aircraft are under his operational control.
IAM2014 takes advantage of Norway’s concurrent deployment to Iceland to conduct NATO’s mission to provide airborne surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland’s peacetime preparedness needs. However, IAM2014 is separate and distinct from that mission, which is only ever conducted by NATO Allies.