Czech Republic to send five JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft to patrol Iceland's airspace

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Czech Republic
Czech Republic to send five JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft to patrol Iceland's airspace
The Czech government on Wednesday approved the decision to send five JAS 39 Gripen fighters to patrol Iceland's airspace for six weeks in July and August, said Czech Defence Ministry spokesman Petr Medek. The Czech Republic will send 70 ground personnel to Iceland along with the five fighters.
Czech Republic's JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft
The decision was made by the Czech government on Wednesday and followed a relevant request from NATO headquarters, received by the defense ministry two weeks ago, the spokesperson said.

NATO member states take turns in guarding Iceland’s airspace as the country does not have its own military aircraft. Czech planes will be doing the job in July-August, substituting for their Canadian colleagues who will be sent to take part in the fight against ISIL during that time.

He said the Czech Republic was proving to the Allies its readiness to respond to new challenges and also indirectly contribute to the international community's fight against the Islamic State.

Czech fighters patrolled the skies over Iceland last year. This time will be the fourth deployment of Czech supersonic aircraft in international operations. The Czech military helped protect the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2009 and 2012.

The Czech Air Force is currently equipped with 12 single-seat and two double-seat versions of the Gripen. The JAS 39 Gripen is a single-engine multirole fighter manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab.