Jets from the US Air Force will be coming to Iceland this month as a part of NATO functions, and staying until June.
Iceland is a part of NATO, and while it has no standing army, it does pay dues into the organisation. Military aircraft from different countries often visit and conduct exercises in Iceland, as per Iceland’s agreement with NATO.
RÚV reports that jets from the US Air Force will be arriving in Iceland this month from the US, UK and Germany. They will be on watch around the clock until June 7, at which time they will be departing. The air force will be comprised of F-15 fighter jets, which reportedly take only 5 to 10 minutes to get into the air.
There has as yet been no statement from Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson on the matter. Last year, the minister called NATO exercises being conducted by Canada in Iceland “pointless,” saying that the big question Icelanders need to ask themselves is whether they are in this military alliance [NATO] or not, and what will happen in connection with these exercises. He added that he is against Iceland participating in militarism and always has been.
Should Russia decide to buzz Iceland again with military aircraft without warning, as they did last month, it is uncertain how the US air force will respond. When Danish jets in Iceland intercepted two Russian Tupolev jets in Icelandic airspace in 2010, the unannounced guests were peacefully escorted away from the country.