Americans Patrolling Icelandic Airspace - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Americans Patrolling Icelandic Airspace

Published April 13, 2016

Photo by
USAF Staff Sgt. Samuel Rogers/Wikimedia Commons

American forces conducted patrols of Icelandic airspace yesterday, and will be here all month long.

“These past few days we’ve been getting ourselves operational,” Lt. Col. Jeff “Monty“ Beckel told Vísir. “NATO was here to assess our capability and our response time. We have trained our chain of command on the order to get into the air as quickly as we can. We were assessing this capability.”

He also disclosed a few details about the patrol’s armaments.

“We have different kinds of missiles,” he said. “We have radar-controlled missiles and heat-seeking missiles. We have different types of missiles for different demands. Airspace patrol here concerns airplanes who comes into the area, whether they’re Russian or from other countries. We keep them out, assess the risk of the threat, and get the message to central command.”

The air patrols are being conducted by the Air National Guard of Westfield, Massachusetts. 150 servicepeople will take part in the project, in addition to employees of the Combined Air Operations Center in Uedem, Germany. The air patrol will be brought with it four F-15C fighter planes and a KC-135 fueling plane.

These exercises are not related to recent news that American forces will be patrolling the North Atlantic for Russian submarines.

As Iceland has no standing army, but is a member of NATO, the country regularly allows other NATO countries to conduct air patrol exercises around the country.

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