International military exercises start today in Iceland

A series of military exercises under the name North Viking 2011 began in Iceland today and will continue until next Friday.

The military exercises are being held under Iceland’s defence co-operation convention with the USA which was signed in 2006 upon the closure of the American air base at Keflavik.

Military teams from the USA, Denmark, Italy and Norway are taking part in the war games. There are some 450 people, 16 fighter jets, three naval patrol vessels, as well as other equipment. Among the exercises will be quick personnel transfers to and from land with emphasis on air space protection. There will also be exercises at sea and their co-ordination with operations in the air; all with a view to the specific requirements and increasing importance of operations in northern regions.

At the same time as taking part in North Viking 2011, the international visitors will also take care of NATO air space patrols over Iceland in accordance with the NATO and Icelandic government agreement from 2007. It will be the Norwegian crew taking charge of the patrols this time, DV reports.

The predicted cost of North Viking 2011 is around ISK 36 million (EUR 216,000) — all of which goes to private sector servicing companies in Iceland.