The Czech Air Force has completed a month-long Nato air policing mission in the skies over Iceland.
The Nato’s ‘Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to Meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs’ mission was conducted by four Gripen fighter planes since the beginning of October.
Czech General Staff chief Josef Becvar said: “Each of these missions brings with it considerable experience for both air crew and ground personnel.
“This is our third deployment to Iceland by soldiers already familiar with the environment, and they have more than demonstrated their resolve in fulfilling each task.
"You have proven that the Czech Republic is certainly capable of ensuring the readiness of the Nato Integrated Air and Missile Defence System both at home and in Iceland.”
The Gripen fighter planes were equipped with medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) which increases their intercepting capabilities.
Air policing mission commander Jaroslav Tomana said: "During almost all of the 150 flight hours, the crews had been monitoring airborne objects, practising low-flight manoeuvres over the sea, and carrying out joint exercises with the allied naval forces."
Becvar added that the Czech fighter planes may be deployed to protect the Baltic countries in 2019.
In June this year, a letter of agreement was signed by Nato and Baltic States to facilitate more air training opportunities in the Baltic region.
Signed by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the project is expected to ensure the safe and efficient use of airspace.
Image: Gripens before landing in Keflavik Air Base. Photo: Copyright © Ministerstvo obrany.