UK Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets will be deployed to Iceland and Estonia to carry out Nato Air Policing next year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced.
Four RAF Typhoon jets will return to Estonia, where they last carried out air policing in 2016.
The fighter aircraft will also patrol the airspace of Iceland for the first time next year, enabling the UK to work in close collaboration with allies to deter aerial threats to Euro Atlantic security.
The missions will provide the RAF with opportunities to test and evaluate its skills in operating in a wide range of environments.
As part of the air policing missions, Nato fighter jets will be prepared to address issues and carry out operations around the clock throughout the year.
Currently, four of the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft have been deployed to Mihail Kogălniceanu Airbase in Romania to ensure security in the South and the Black Sea region.
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In addition, Williamson confirmed that the country will deploy 40 additional personnel to the European Union Force (EUFOR) operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Operation Althea.
As part of the mission, additional troops will join a specialist surveillance and intelligence taskforce for six months.
Williamson said: “Whilst the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU) is changing, our unconditional commitment to European security remains resolute.
“Be it our continued involvement in Nato’s Air Policing or additional UK troops assisting EU-led operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, our actions send a clear message: we are committed to tackling new challenges and conventional threats alongside our longstanding allies and partners.”
The two new UK deployments demonstrate the importance of Nato and the EU working closely to support security and stability across Europe, with the UK playing a major role.