Role of the Iceland Air Defense System unclear Skip to content

Role of the Iceland Air Defense System unclear

It is unlikely that the Iceland Air Defense System (IADS) will be used during times of conflict, according to the chairman of Althingi’s foreign affairs committee.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

Since its establishment, the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />US administration has been in charge of the IADS, which is a radar network located in four different places of Iceland. On 15 August, responsibilities for the system will be handed over to the Icelandic government. The annual cost of running the IADS is estimated at ISK 824 million (USD 12.6 million).

In an interview with Fréttabladid daily, Bjarni Benediktsson, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of Althingi parliament, said that during times of conflict it appeared unlikely that the IADS would be used. The US military, which guarantees the defense of Iceland according to a bilateral agreement, would rather use its own radar systems, AWACS aircraft in particular.

This situation has prompted questions of whether the government of Iceland should be running the IADS without having a clear aim of doing so. After yesterday’s meeting of the foreign affairs committee, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, leader of the oppositional Left-Green party, criticized the government for accepting financial responsibilities of the IADS without consulting the parliament and argued that the money should rather be used to bolster civil security, e.g. the police.

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