Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 11, 2011 09:21 ET

Canadian Forces Completes Participation in NATO-Iceland Air Policing Program

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 11, 2011) - A Canadian Forces detachment of five CF-18 Hornet jet fighters last week completed its deployment to Keflavik, Iceland, in support of the NATO–Iceland Air Policing Program.

"Canada's participation in this international program is symbolic of NATO's role: partner nations assisting one another in maintaining our mutual security and defence," said Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Canada's fleet of fighter aircraft is uniquely suited to contribute to international peace and stability and is the key requirement in maintaining our ability to contribute to multilateral defence cooperation."

This deployment, the first under a new CF initiative dubbed Operation IGNITION, was part of the Canadian Forces' ongoing contribution to NATO's regional security efforts.

"The ability of the Canadian Air Force to participate in complex, multi-national operations with our allies demonstrates the agility and professionalism of our military and Canada's determination to support global stability," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff.

"I am proud of the flexibility and agility of Canada's Air Force to quickly deploy and integrate into the NATO- Iceland Air Policing Program while simultaneously supporting air combat operations over Libya," said Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard, Commander, Canadian Expeditionary Force Command.

Task Force Iceland's contingent of 140 CF personnel successfully completed 75 sorties during the operation. An aspect of Canada's continuing commitment to international peace and security, Operation IGNITION showed how relevant, responsive and effective Canada's fighter fleet is in today's complex security environment.

The NATO–Iceland Air Policing Program is a NATO operation conducted to patrol Iceland's airspace. The first deployment of NATO aircraft took place in May 2008.

Note to editors / news directors:

For more information and imagery about Operation IGNITION, visit the website of the Canadian Forces Expeditionary Force Command at http://www.comfec-cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/ignition/index-eng.asp

For information about air policing by NATO forces, visit the website of Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein at: http://www.airn.nato.int/focus_areas/ap/ap.htm

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