What was earlier a purely routine mission has gained momentum following NATO's rhetoric about "aggressive" Russia constantly stepping up its military activity in parts of Europe.
"Russia has taken the initiative in the Northern seas, and now we [NATO] have to show that we have common defense interests," Bradshaw said, citing Russian exercises just outside of Norway.
Rune Jakobsen of the Norwegian Armed Forces Operational Headquarters stressed that Russia is using new methods all the time.
"We see an increase in maritime activity and a decline in the use of strategic bombing aircraft. Today, the Russian forces can also get military operations going much faster than before. Now, they can arrive with their whole Northern fleet in only several hours' time. This is challenging for us," Jakobsen said.
As Iceland does not maintain an air force, the country was left without the means to patrol its airspace following the withdrawal of the United States Air Force (USAF) from Keflavik Air Base in September 2006. The same year, then-Prime Minister Geir Haarde requested that NATO members police the island's airspace. Remarkably, Haarde denied that the measure was specifically targeting Russian aircraft, stressing that Iceland was on friendly terms with Russia.