Two Royal Danish Air Force (Flyvevåbnet) F-16s have been sent on an Arctic mission. For the first time ever the fighter jets train in surveillance of the Arctics, according to an official statement “for possible future search and rescue missions”.
The pair of Fighting Falcons left Skrydstrup Airbase on 5 August heading Thule Airbase, with a stop-over in Kangerlussuaq (Søndre Strømfjord), both on Greenland. Planes and crews will use the two-day mission mainly to get experience in using the F-16s in a Arctic SAR mission, with bad weather and long distances providing many challenges. In fact, a military spokesperson said the whole mission might not go as planned because of always changing weather conditions.
The F-16 crew included a pilot with experience on the Gulfstream III SMA-3 the Danish Air Force used in the 1980s and 1990s. The current Challenger aircraft of the RDAF are regularly sent to Greenland, but the August 2014 mission marks the first time the Danes deploy F-16s to the big Arctic land mass.