RAF

RAF Typhoons Leave Iceland After Completing NATO Air Policing Mission

It was the first RAF fighter deployment to the country since WWII.

Four Typhoon jets have left Iceland following the RAF’s first NATO Air Policing mission in the country.

During the deployment, the fighter pilots flew 59 training sorties and conducted 180 practice intercepts.

The RAF crews were on 24-hour standby to deal with unidentified aircraft flying towards the airspace.

No Royal Air Force fighter squadron has been based in the country since the Second World War.

Iceland has a population of just 360,000 and with no standing military of its own, it requests the air cover from NATO.

RAF personnel in Iceland for NATO Air Policing mission (Picture: RAF).

Wing Commander Mark Baker, 1 (Fighter) Squadron, said: “We’ve achieved the mission, first and foremost, ensuring the integrity of NATO airspace.

“I think we’ve also developed some excellent relationships with the people of Iceland.”

Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, expressed the nation’s gratitude to the RAF.

“It is safe to say that this first RAF NATO Air Policing peacetime mission in Iceland has been a success," he said.

"We appreciate the support from a trusted ally and neighbour and we look forward to welcoming the RAF back for its next mission in Iceland.”

An RAF Typhoon sits on the apron (Picture: RAF).

The once impenetrable and nearby Arctic is becoming more accessible due to melting ice caps and technological advances.

These changes are expected to prompt a race to claim and exploit the region's rich mineral assets

The region consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, the USA, Greenland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.

Earlier this year, Caroline Kennedy-Pipe,  Professor of International Security at Loughborough University, said: "We’re expecting to see great power rivalries played out in the Arctic, particularly with the resurgent Russian and a very interested China."

This year more than 800 Royal Marines and their support arms deployed to Norway as Britain strengthens its focus on the region.

Cover image: RAF Typhoons depart Iceland (Picture: RAF).