The Reapers return: NATO Icelandic Air Surveillance complete
By Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 31, 2018
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
After almost a month of securing the sovereign skies of Iceland and dedicated training, 14 F-15C/D Eagles and more than 250 personnel returned home from Rekjavik Air Base last week.
Throughout the NATO Icelandic Air Surveillance mission, the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron maintained a constant, vigilant alert status, poised to launch jets at a moment’s notice to intercept any unidentified aircraft encroaching on the protected airspace.
“The 493d EFS performed tremendously in Iceland,” said Lt. Col. Cody Blake, 493rd EFS commander. “The mission was successful due to the unwavering hard work and professionalism by the entire team.”
Climbing beyond mission demands, the 493rd EFS flew 238 sorties accumulating more than 400 flying hours, 70 of which simulated an actual alert situation.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Airmen deploying from across Europe and Estonian military personnel as well as the Icelandic Coast Guard were paramount to IAS mission success.
“The support from the Icelandic Coast Guard was terrific from the set-up and beddown to sustaining the mission throughout our time there,” said Blake.
Since 2008, NATO partners have provided airborne surveillance and interception to Iceland meeting its peacetime preparedness needs. This deployment marks the 11th iteration of U.S. Air Force IAS participation.