2017-05-06 According to an article published on the Italian Ministry of Defence website, Italian Air Force participation in the NATO Interim Air Policing Mission in Iceland concluded April 14, 2017.
On the evening of Friday, 14 April, after a 6-hour flight and 3 air-to-air refuelling operations most of the Italian Eurofighter aircraft and personnel have re-deployed to Italy after taking part in NATO’s Interim Air Policing Mission in Iceland.
Starting from 23 March, following NATO’s Full Operational Capability authorization, the Italian detachment has ensured the integrity of NATO airspace by strengthening surveillance activities in the Icelandic sky. The country, in fact, has no air defence capabilities and facilities of its own.
Six Eurofighter aircraft and approximately 140 servicemen and servicewomen of the Italian Air Force had re-deployed at Icelandic Coast Guard Base in Keflavik, to implement the activities provided for by NATO Interim Air Policing for the Defence of NATO Airspace in Iceland while carrying out joint training activities withe the Icelandic Coast Guard.
Air Force pilots, officers, specialists, logistics and operational personnel from 4th, 36th and 37thWings, as well as a Air defence Controller team from Poggio Renatico Air Command Operations and 22nd Radar Group Licola (Na), which provided the mission’s tactical management in the mission’s Area of Responsibility by also providing communications with the Combined Air Operation Center in Udem.
ReSTOGE also provided a significant contribution through its dedicated cell which has provided operational support to all aircraft engaged.
Force Protection for the Icelandic airport, with regard to both personnel and materiel, was ensured by the 16th Wing Air Riflemen.
All re-deployment phases, both at the beginning and at the end of the mission, have been ensured by personnel and C-130J aircraft from 46th Air Brigade Pisa, KC767 aircraft from 14th Wing Pratica di Mare and Atlantic assets from 41th Wing Sigonella. 3rd Wing Villafranca has dealt with logistics.
All technical and operational telecommunication facilities have been managed by 4th Brigade Telecommunications and Systems D.A./A.V. (ReSIA and ReGISCC).
The Italian Air Force has been taking part in various Interim Air Policing missions: in Albania, starting from 2009, and Slovenia, from 2004, in cooperation, respectively, with Greece and Hungary; it was already engaged in Iceland in 2013.
The mission falls under the responsibility of NATO Allied Command Operation Brussels and is coordinated by Headquarters Allied Air Command- Ramstein (GER).