With no air force of its own, for the next five weeks the only thing guarding Iceland from air invasion will be a sextet of Canadian fighter planes.
In mid-March, six CF-18s and more than 160 Canadian Forces personnel bunked down at a Cold War-era base just outside Reykjavik to kick off Operation Ignition, a periodic mission in which Canada takes its turn defending the island nation, which is the only NATO member without a single soldier or pilot on the payroll.
Canadians will monitor radar, escort “unauthorized” aircraft out of Icelandic airspace and practice scrambling jets to “intercept and identify unknown airborne objects,” according to a statement by the Department of National Defense.
True to the operation’s official name as a “peacetime preparedness mission,” the jets will mostly be unarmed.
“Basically, it’s a presence patrol; they’re providing surveillance and interception capabilities,” said Captain Cynthia Kent, spokeswoman for Canadian Joint…
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