Having no standing army and operating just four coast guard vessels has not prevented NATO-member Iceland from hosting one of the organization’s largest anti-submarine warfare exercises.
From June 26 to July 8, NATO ships and submarines will gather in Iceland for a series of drills aimed at improving their ASW skills.
Dynamic Mongoose, as the exercise is named, is the second annual NATO-led maritime exercise held in the North Atlantic region. The other ASW exercise, Dynamic Manta, takes place in the Mediterranean Sea. Dynamic Manta took place in Italian waters and concluded in March this year.
Last year’s edition of Dynamic Mongoose took place in Norway and saw the participation of four submarines and nine surface ships in addition to maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Iceland has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since its foundation in 1949 but new established a permanent defence force. Membership of the Alliance and the 1951 bilateral Defence Agreement with the United States of America remain the two main pillars of Iceland’s security policy.
In addition to sending its coast guard vessels and aircraft to international peacekeeping missions, Iceland operates an air defence and surveillance system (IADS) which is part of the NATO integrated Air Defence System, composed of four radar sites and centrally controlled Air Command and Control System.
IADS supports NATO allied air forces´ air surveillance missions in Iceland in order to ensure that air sovereignty is maintained.
NATO conducts air-surveillance missions in Iceland as decided by the Alliance’s North Atlantic Council in July of 2007. Missions are carried out by NATO member states at an average of three times a year, for 2 to 3 weeks at a time.