US Forces in Iceland
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US Armed Forces In Iceland

The 1951 US-Iceland Defence Agreement formalised the presence of American military aircraft in Iceland - the US having had a military presence since 1941. Under this agreement, dedicated units were permanently assigned to the Iceland Defense Force, a unified command subordinate to US European Command. Notable units included the 57th FIS, which provided air defence for Iceland between 1954 and 1995.

After 1995, these permanently stationed front-line units were replaced by regular detachments of aircraft, on a rota basis, from units based in the Continental USA or from USAFE. These units report to the 85th Group USAF during their deployment.

When in Iceland, all aircraft are based at NAS Keflavik.

The main roles currently provided are:

Air Defence
Air defence is provided by one squadron of F-15C or F-16C fighters and an E-3A AWACS detachment from the USAF.

Search and Rescue
All-weather and long range SAR is provided by the 56th RQS from the USAF, flying the HC-130N and HH-60G.

Maritime Patrol
ASW and maritime patrol duties are carried out by detachments of US Navy P-3 Orions.

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First Created: 9 August 1997 - Last Revised: 25 February 2005
Copyright © 1997 John Hayles.     e-mail: