The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare) has decided to deploy an F-35A detachment to support Nato’s Enhanced Air Policing mission in Iceland.
The detachment will include 130 personnel, pilots, crew members, support and force protection personnel, along with four F-35A fighter aircraft.
Based at Amendola Air Base (AB) in Italy, the F-35As will support the Icelandic air surveillance during their two-month deployment in Iceland.
The aim of the mission is to conduct routine exercises and training to meet Iceland’s mission preparedness needs and to monitor its airspace.
In addition, Nato’s Allied Air Command, along with the authority over the fighters, will tactically control the detachment operations from the Northern Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany.
Italian F-35A Iceland Task Force Air commander colonel Gianmarco Di Loreto said: “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.
“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.”
According to the Icelandic Coast Guard leadership, the deployment will maintain a periodic presence of Nato’s fighter aircraft to secure the country’s airspace.
The Coast Guard is responsible for conducting maritime operations, including search, rescue, safety, security, surveillance and law enforcement, in the seas surrounding Iceland.
Participation in Nato’s Air Policing mission will also mark the Italian F-35A’s third deployment to Iceland after 2019 and 2020.
Prior to this, the Italian Eurofighter Typhoons supported the Nato’s mission to safeguard the ally’s airspace in the High North in 2013, 2017 and 2018.