The US is reportedly planning to refurbish Keflavik air base in Iceland to deploy the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft for maritime patrol operations in the North Atlantic.
The move is anticipated as a strategy to address reports of increasing presence of Russian submarines in the North Atlantic.
Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson was quoted by DefenseNews as saying: "The US proposal for Keflavik is welcome, but we have had no talks about increased operations from there.
"Should more flights and operations happen, then this is already covered under our current defence agreements with the US."
However, Gunnlaugsson did not mention whether the US plans to locate a ‘permanent force at Keflavik.’
The base, which was run by the US Navy after assuming responsibility from the US Air Force in 1961, acted as a platform for several operational capabilities throughout World War II, the Cold War, and in the modern arena.
Located midway between the US East Coast and Europe, the Keflavik Naval air station allowed the US Navy’s P-3 Orions and fighter aircraft to patrol waters in the North Atlantic between Greenland, Iceland and the UK.
The air base was disestablished on 8 September 2006 after 45 years of operations in support of the defence of Iceland.
As per the terms of a treaty signed in 1951, the US is still responsible to defend Iceland.
Iceland’s air space has been monitored by NATO allies as part of the Icelandic Air Policing operation since 2008.
Image: An aerial view of the US naval station of Keflavik. Photo: courtesy of MSgt. Michael E. Daniels, USAF.