Four Polish F-16 planes and up to 140 personnel will take part in the air policing mission in Iceland. President Andrzej Duda signed a decision on the launch of the Polish military contingent as part of NATO operations, said Paweł Soloch, the head of the National Security Bureau on Monday.
The head of the presidential National Security Bureau said that “from August 5, Poland joins the group of ten North Atlantic Alliance countries responsible for the protection of NATO airspace in the Iceland region, providing assistance to aircraft in emergency situations and possible protection of the population against air attacks”.
He recalled that Iceland, which is a NATO member, does not have its own air force. – That is why the protection of its airspace is carried out jointly and severally by the allies. It takes place as part of three three- or four-week missions per year, performed alternately by selected Alliance countries. The Polish Air Force has extensive experience in this type of operations – for over fifteen years we have been participating in a similar mission related to the protection of airspace over the Baltic States – said Paweł Soloch.
Four F-16s and personnel will participate in the mission
According to the head of the National Security Bureau, in accordance with the president’s decision, the mission will involve four F-16 planes with weapons and equipment, as well as personnel – 140 soldiers and military personnel. The first change of PMC Iceland will take place from August 5 to October 10, 2021.
– For President Andrzej Duda, Poland’s involvement in military missions is one of the most important elements of the security policy, which translates into strengthening Poland’s position in security matters on the international arena, as well as practical strengthening of cooperation with allied armies. So far, the president has decided to launch as many as eight new military contingents – in Sicily, Latvia, Iraq, Romania, Lebanon, Turkey, Kuwait (completed in 2018) and in Iceland – noted Soloch.
The government is asking the president to issue a decision on the use of Polish military contingents abroad.
Air policing mission
The allied air policing mission over Iceland began in 2008. It consists not in the permanent but periodic presence of airplanes and air and ground crews at the Keflavik base.
Main photo source: SERGEY DOLZHENKO / EPA / PAP