The Czech Gripen in its temporarily habitat: the airspace of Iceland (Image © Ivo Kardoš)

PHOTO ESSAY: Czech Gripens guarding Iceland

For the second year in a row Saab JAS 39 Gripen jets of the Czech Air Force provide NATO member Island with is air defence. Five Gripens arrived on 23 July 2015, refueled in mid-air by an Italian Air Force KC-767.

The first operational missions were flown this week, flying from Keflavik Air Base – strategically located in between Europe and North America. From the arrival flight we’ve received some footage from our friends within the Czech Air Force, that we love to share with you.

The five Czech fighter jets are from 211. taktické letky (tactical squadron), which operates 14 of these aircraft. So far the Gripens have only been tasked with air defence, but that will change. As we reported earlier the Czech jets are on their way to do what they have been designed to do: multi-tasking that includes ground attack and close air support.

Sweden
This time, Sweden provided extensive support for the Czech mission in Iceland. Only six weeks were available for preparing the deployment. The Swedish provided an inventory of spare parts and ground support hardware and contributed by flying a Boeing C-17 from the multi-national Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) to Iceland. The Globemaster flew to Iceland twice, carrying approximately 50 tons of supplies.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The Czech Gripen in its temporarily habitat: the airspace of Iceland (Image © Ivo Kardoš)

The shelter is the Gripen's home away from home (image © Tomáš Maruščák)
The shelter is the Gripen’s home away from home (image © Tomáš Maruščák)
Arriving at Keflavik Air Base (image © Tomáš Maruščák)
Arriving at Keflavik Air Base (image © Tomáš Maruščák)
Getting fuel en route to Iceland from an Italian tanker  (Image © Petr Daňko)
Getting fuel en route to Iceland from an Italian tanker (Image © Petr Daňko)
The C-17 provided by Sweden. (image © Milan Polách)
The C-17 provided by Sweden. (image © Milan Polách)