The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will conduct a training event inn air-defense flying for pilots and ground support personnel, including fighter controllers, in Iceland early next year, it was announced Wednesday.
NATO in a statement said the event, codenamed Iceland Fighter Meet 2014 (IFM14), will take place from February 3-21, 2014. The event will bring together fighter aircraft from NATO member Norway (F-16 Fighting Falcon), and from partner countries Finland (F-18 Hornet) and Sweden (JAS Gripen), to conduct a wide range of air defense-related flying activities.
The activities conducted during IFM14 will include air combat training between dissimilar aircraft types, defensive and offensive counter-air operations and high-value airborne asset attack and protection.
IFM14 will be supported by air-to-air refueling tanker aircraft, NATO AWACS radar aircraft and Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters. It will be held in the context of the training component of Norway's deployment to Iceland to conduct the periodic NATO 'Peacetime Preparedness Mission'.
NATO will act as the overall coordinator for the event from its Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany. Control of the fighter aircraft will be shared by Control and Reporting Center (CRC) Loki in Iceland and a NATO AWACS radar aircraft operating from Norway.
Sweden will deploy an air-to-air refueling aircraft to Iceland to support IFM14. In addition, Finland and Norway will deploy SAR helicopters alongside Iceland's SAR force.
Norway will act as the sponsor nation for Finland and Sweden, and will provide a training director for IFM14. The Finnish and Swedish assets will be placed under his operational control. They will not be placed under NATO's direct authority at any time during the meet.
Under standard NATO practice, all training missions during IFM14 will be flown unarmed.
As part of the 'Peacetime Preparedness Mission', the Norwegian contingent will deploy several days before the Swedish and Finnish detachments to demonstrate the required NATO air-policing capability. This will be completed before the partners arrive.
Once IFM14 begins, any real-world NATO air-policing activities will only be conducted by Norway, and will be separate and distinct from the activities of the training event, which will run in parallel, the press statement said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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