German air force sends combat aircraft to Iceland

Germany's air force has sent combat aircraft to Iceland for the first time in a decade as part of a rapid deployment exercise.

By Reuters - August 4, 2023
653
A Eurofighter flies over Iceland alongside an A400 transport aircraft during the Rapid Viking 2023 exercise. For the first time in more than 10 years, the German Air Force is training with fighter aircraft on Iceland.

Keflavik, Iceland (dpa) – Germany’s air force has sent combat aircraft to Iceland for the first time in a decade as part of a rapid deployment exercise.

“We are doing this to show that if the air force is needed somewhere, we can be there within a few days,” Lieutenant Colonel Marco Brunhofer of Germany’s Tactical Air Wing 73 Steinhoff said on Thursday at Iceland’s Keflavik military airfield outside the capital.

An A400M commander and his co-pilot sit in the cockpit of the German Armed Forces A400M transport aircraft en route to the Rapid Viking 2023 exercise in Iceland. For the first time in more than 10 years, the German Air Force is training with fighter aircraft on Iceland.

The deployment of six German Eurofighter aircraft is intended to show that Germany and other NATO allies can quickly respond to defend each other. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which borders several NATO members, has put renewed emphasis on the alliance’s military capabilities.

Iceland was a founding member of NATO in 1949 but has no armed forces of its own, only a coastguard.

Two Eurofighters fly over Iceland alongside an A400 transport aircraft during the Rapid Viking 2023 exercise. For the first time in more than 10 years, the German Air Force is training with fighter aircraft on Iceland.

In the past, the island nation on the edge of the Arctic Circle hosted numerous NATO bases and military facilities. But in the decades after the end of the Cold War, NATO forces used those facilities less as the alliance focused more on the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.