A notable development in defence cooperation between Germany and Iceland is set to occur as a squadron of six Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets from the German Air Force prepares to arrive in Keflavik for a training mission.

This mission aims to familiarize German airmen and their aircraft with the unique challenges of Icelandic airspace and the High North region. The deployment is separate but complements NATO’s enduring air policing mission in Iceland (ASIC IPPN), underscoring the growing security and defence partnership between the two nations.

A strategic location for air policing missions

The German airmen, totalling 30 personnel, will be based in the security zone at Keflavik, a strategic location known for its significance in monitoring and safeguarding the Northern Atlantic region. During their stay, the airmen will engage in joint training exercises with the NATO Control and Reporting Centre (CRC), ensuring integration with NATO’s air policing mission in Iceland (ASIC IPPN).

Various nations have undertaken air policing missions in Iceland within the last year. Both last year, Italy used their F-35A fleet to support a NATO air policing mission, and Denmark exercised their F-16 aircraft squadron in another NATO air policing mission. Norway also deployed F-35 jets from Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, in another mission this year.

Tristan Sauer, aerospace, defence & security analyst at GlobalData, provided his commentary on the air policing mission: “Iceland plays a unique role within the NATO alliance, as although it doesn’t possess a standing army, the nation’s geographical position makes it a critical node within NATO’s integrated Air Defense System as well as a key hub for training forces in extreme environmental conditions.”

The training mission presents an opportunity for the German Air Force to enhance its operational capabilities but also marks a milestone in the growing defence partnership between Germany and Iceland. Both nations recognize the importance of fostering closer ties and cooperation to effectively tackle evolving security challenges in the region.

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Effective deterrence against Russia

The Icelandic Coast Guard, in coordination with civil aviation authorities, will play a role in hosting the deployment on behalf of the Defence Directorate at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland.

For Iceland, the presence of the German squadron not only adds to its airspace’s security but also signals the nation’s commitment to contributing to regional defence efforts and fulfilling its NATO responsibilities.

As the deployment unfolds later this week, the main priority will be to foster a stronger and more resilient alliance prepared to tackle any future challenges in the High North region and beyond.

Tristan Sauer concluded: “As tensions between the alliance and Russia continue to escalate, demonstrating the capacity to conduct joint defensive operations near and beyond the Arctic circle is critical to maintaining effective deterrence, particularly in light of Russia’s increased militarization of its territories in the high north.”