It takes a Challenger to meet the challenge. The world’s most northern terrain, a land point all the way up on the coast of Greenland, was patrolled by a Royal Danish Air Force CL-604 this week to project the Danish territorial integrity. The semi-autonomous Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
A Flyvevåbnet’s Eskadrille 721 (721 Squadron) Bombardier Challenger 604 is currently deployed with Airgroup West (Luftgruppe Vest) at Greenland. The group is part of the Arctic Command headquartered in Nuuk, with the plane based at Kangerlussuaq Airbase.
Last week the RDAF Challenger already patrolled the geographical North Pole, on Monday 5 May 2014 followed by a routine patrol mission alongside Greenland’s north coast. As the CL-604s captain, Michael D. Munkner, writes on the RDAF website: “The flight took us from Kangerlussuaq/Søndre Strømfjord to the north point at high level. After two and a half hours of flight we switched to low level. From Cape Morris Jesup we passed the Kennedy Canal and headed for the island of Hans.”
Hans Island is strategically located right between the Danish territory of Greenland and Canada, in what might become a shipping lane of the future to and from a possible oil rich North Pole. Both countries claim the rock with a diameter of 0.3 miles (500 m), having put people on it that left a bottle of liquor from each country to support their territory. The Royal Danish Navy even summoned a frigate up to Hans Island a couple of years ago – without knowing if it would ever make it through the icy seas – after Canadian soldiers visited the rock. However, both countries have agreed to settle their Hans Island dispute peacefully.
The RDAF CL-604 took a image of Hans Island with its forward looking infra red (FLIR) camera, made a refuelling stop at Thule AFB – leased to the US Air Force – and then returned home to its temporary airbase at Kangerlussuaq.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by the Flyvevåbnet / Royal Danish Air Force