The Icelandic Coast Guard was established in 1926, to patrol the seas around Iceland. In 1947 the Coast Guard started leasing aircraft from local airlines to patrol the fishing grounds just off the coast.
The ICG obtained it’s first aircraft, a PBY-6A Catalina amphibian in late 1955 and at the same time established a Division of Air Operations. This allowed search and rescue operations and shipping patrol missions to be carried out with much greater efficiency. The Catalina was replaced by a C-54 Skymaster in 1962. The ICG’s first helicopter, a Bell 47J, was delivered in 1965 and used to build up experience of helicopter operations. A Hughes 369 helicopter was obtained in 1975 for liason and transport duties. In the meantime, a Fokker F.27 had replaced the C-54 Skymaster.
During 1975, the imposition of a territorial limit 200 miles from the Icelandic coast led to confrontation with British fishing boats. The British fishermen had traditionally fished Icelandic waters for cod, and resisted Icelandic efforts to police what had previously been international waters. ICG Cutters were involved in several near collisions with British Trawlers in the disputed zone.
Since the 1970s, the ICG has obtained more modern helicopters, such as the Eurocopter Ecureuil, Dauphin 2 and Super Puma and upgraded the equipment on its Fokker F.27.
|1 July 1926||Landhelgisgaezlan established|
|1947||ICG starts leasing aircraft for fishery patrol|
|10 December 1955||First aircraft obtained (PBY-6A Catalina)|
|29 December 1955||Division of Air Operations created|
|1965||First helicopter obtained (Bell 47J)|
The Icelandic Coast Guard is a law enforcement and rescue organisation. It is primarily tasked with policing Icelandic territorial waters and assisting those in trouble at sea. All aircraft are unarmed.
Ninety per cent of the missions flown by ICG aircraft are related to fishery protection, with the remainder devoted to a variety of tasks. These include search and rescue, mine clearance, emergency ambulance service, maintenance support to lighthouses and other navigation aids and transportaton for various goverment agencies.
The Fokker F.27 needs to be replaced in the near future.
| The Super Puma TF-LIF on exercise over the choppy sea, March 6, 1998.
(Photo, Baldur Sveinsson)
Aircraft Serial Numbers
All ICG aircraft carry civil registrations.
Coding system not used
None – Manufacturers designations used.
Current Aircraft Inventory
All-Time Aircraft Used List
Aircraft NOT Used
No false reports of aircraft on order or in service have been noted.
|The ICG fleet, as it was on 13 October 1980. (Photo, Baldur Sveinsson)|
Postholf 7120 – 127 Reykjavik, Island.
All aircraft and helicopters are based at Reykjavik. There are no organisational sub-divisions. Coast Guard Cutters have helicopter facilities.
Current Unit Assignments
Historical Unit Assignments
All-Time Flying Units List
Current Air Bases
All aircraft and helicopters are currently based at Reykjavik International Airport.
All-Time Air Bases Used List
A number of regional airports and airfields are located around the country, many of which have been used by the ICG.
Air Bases and Airfields Listing
Icelandic Aviation Bibliography – to be added
Air Pictorial September 1985 p.348-350
Militair 1982 (Aviation Press) p.99
Aircraft Illustrated January 1981 p.8
World Air Forces Data Book 1 – Europe p.57
World Air Power Journal No.11 p.6
Icelandic Coast Guard
(Some photos of ships and aircraft)
Aircraft of the Icelandic Coast Guard
(Excellent photos of ICG aircraft and helicopters by Baldur Sveinsson)
Night Vision Goggles
(Introduction of NVGs with the ICG)
(Includes operational use of ICG helicopters)
Icelandic Coast Guard
(Narrative history of ICG aviation with photos)
Chief Pilot of the Icelandic Coast Guard, in the production of this feature.