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Estonia to patrol Iceland airspace

Mar 09, 2009
TBT staff

TALLINN - The Estonian Air Force will participate in the Iceland airspace surveillance mission in the composition of the Danish Air Force.

Two ground intercept controllers of forceThe Estonian officers of the two ground intercept controllers have begun directing Danish F-16 fighters that are policing the skies over Iceland, with the mission lasting till the end of March, military spokespeople said.

Denmark is currently using F-16 aircraft also to guard the Baltic airspace.

This is the Estonian controllers' first mission outside the Baltic states.

Iceland is one of the six NATO countries that lack airspace patroling capacity of their own.

A unit of the U.S. Air Force was stationed at the Keflavik base southwest of the capital Reykjavik until 2006. At present the island nation itself maintains the radars installed there and monitors the airspace, but it lacks ground intercept controllers and aircraft to patrol the airspace.

NATO member states have since 2007 taken turns to guard Iceland's airspace, contributing aircraft and specialists. The rotation system is used to police Baltic skies as well.

Denmark supported the training of Estonian airspace monitors and ground intercept controllers in previous years. Before starting service in Iceland the two officers underwent refresher training with the Danish Air Force.

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