Oct 12, 2014

Czech Air Force takes over surveillance of Icelandic airspace

Five Czech Gripen fighter jets are flying to Iceland on Friday as the Czech Army prepares to take over surveillance of Icelandic airspace. Over the next nine weeks Czech aircraft and a contingent of 75 soldiers will be primarily responsible for Iceland’s air defence, the only NATO member state with no air force of its own.
Iceland, one of the founding members of NATO, is the only member state without an army. Its role in NATO revolves around its strategic position and the NATO airbases on its territory. Consequently its defence is in the hands of NATO allies. From 1951 to 2006 the country’s air defence was exclusively in the hands of the United States after which other NATO members accepted the responsibility in a rotating joint operation. For the first time ever the Czech air force will now have the task of patrolling Iceland’s airspace. The planned five week surveillance mission was recently extended to nine weeks at NATOs request.

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