Norwegian F-35s to patrol Iceland on their first NATO mission

A total of about 150 people will be dispatched to Iceland to operate four aircraft due to the advanced technology on Norway’s new F-35 fighter jets.

Four Norwegian F-35 fighter jets have been commissioned by NATO to patrol the airspace over Iceland. This is the Norwegian F-35’s first mission abroad, national broadcaster NRK reported.

“This means that we are ready for the mission both at home and abroad”, General Major and Chief of the Air Defence, Tonje Skinnarland said.

The first three aircraft arrived in the fall of 2017. In November, the jets were proclaimed “initially operational”. There are now 15 in Norway, and four of them are on their way to Iceland on assignment.

“I believe it’s a very important mission, because it’s a combat one. Finally, we get to perform a combat task, for which we have been training for a long time”, Lieutenant Colonel Ståle Nymoen and commander of the 332 Squadron at the Ørland aircraft base, said.

Norway’s job in Iceland is called air policing. Iceland doesn’t have an air defence of its own. Since 2006, when the Americans withdrew from the base they have had on the island for years, NATO members took over on a rotary basis. Now it’s Norway’s turn.

“We must be on standby with two planes and be able, by order of NATO, scramble and identify incoming planes, be it civilian, military, or other aircraft”, Nymoen said.

The mission will last three weeks, and to be on the safe side, the Air Force is bringing in extra crew this first time. A total of about 150 people will be dispatched to operate the four aircraft.