Top gun pilots from Moray have arrived in Iceland to defend the sky over northern Europe from potential invaders.
Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth have landed in the country as part of Nato’s air policing mission – marking the first time in more than a decade that UK crews have been deployed there.
The jets from 1 Squadron will be based at Keflavik Air Base until mid-December and have been tasked with being ready to scramble to intercept unidentified aircraft flying towards the area.
Moray pilots previously took part in the mission during a deployment to Romania last year – tracking 20 Russian planes flying towards Nato airspace during a four-month deployment.
Air Vice Marshal Harv Smyth, officer commanding the RAF’s fast jet force, said: “This deployment is primarily designed to offer reassurance to our friends. Nevertheless, I am confident the Typhoons will secure the Icelandic skies in the same way as we do 365 days a year at home.
“Their presence makes clear to allies that we stand by our Nato commitments, of which this is just one of the many we offer in order to help preserve Euro-Atlantic safety.”
The Icelandic mission has been requested by the country’s government, which does not have its own air force.
More than 100 UK personnel have flown north for the deployment to maintain a watch over the airspace, similar to the quick relation alert (QRA) operation run from RAF Lossiemouth.
Nato allies travel to stations on a rotational basis to country’s that do not have the capabilities of performing the task themselves. There are air crews from Belgium, Denmark and Czech Republic stationed in Lithuania and Estonia as part of the same mission.
Wing Commander Mark Baker, officer commanding the Iceland detachment, said: “We are very excited to be here and are looking forward to starting flying operations.
“We have come here at the request of the Icelandic government to provide a capable force designed to offer reassurance and police the country’s airspace.”