In March, Norway will solve missions in the international operation Iceland Air Policing (IAP) with the F-35. This is the first foreign mission for the 332 squadron after F-35 reached initial operational capability (IOC) in November 2019.
The NATO-country Iceland does not have its own defense and no capacity to meet the country's need for sovereignty and surveillance. Therefor NATO has periodic air defense presence on Iceland.
The fact that our F-35 can show operational capability in an operation like this is an important milestone towards full operational capability in 2025, says Chief of the Air Force, Major General Tonje Skinnarland. The tasks are similar to those carried out by the Norwegian F-16 from Bodø, the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). On Iceland Norway will be responsible for this task for a period of 3 weeks.
During this period, personnel from CRC Sørreisa will also participate in Iceland Air Policing. This is personnel from the control and alert unit who will assist in forming an surveillance image with their Icelandic colleagues. They will also assist with the training of new Icelandic personnel. The detachment in total consists of 130 soldiers, commanders, officers and civilians.
High symbolic effect
Lieutenant Colonel Ståle "Steel" Nymoen, commander of the 332 Squadron, will be detachment commander on Iceland.
“The fact that Norway will solve the mission on Iceland Air Policing shows that we´re
a reliable and high-quality partner in NATO. The participation has a high symbolic effect, both for Norway and for NATO, says Ståle "Steel" Nymoen.
The personnel are now preparing for the departure at Ørland Air force base where they are stationed on a daily basis.
“The F-35 is now in daily use in Norway and we´ve come a long way since we received our first aircrafts in 2017. In addition to solving missions in Norway we can now solve missions for NATO.
Norway carries out the QRA-mission on a daily basis. We have two F-16s on a 15 minutes standby in Bodø at all times. The mission is therefore well-known for Norway. The Norwegian Air Force has also solved other Air Policing missions before, in Lithuania and several times on Iceland. Both of these missions have been solved with the F-16. Now the F-35 that will take over.
For the Norwegian Armed Forces, the F-35 is an important part of the overall defense, in protecting Norway and assert both our and NATO's borders in the north.
“The F-35 has proven to be a extremely capable platform that works better than expected, says detachment commander and commander of the 332 Squadron, Ståle Nymoen.