Germany Hosts Biggest Ever Air Exercise Of NATO Forces

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Allied air forces began the largest deployment exercise in NATO’s history on Monday (12 June 2023). Twenty-five nations are taking part in the two-week long “Air Defender” exercise, with around 10,000 personnel and 250 aircraft. 

“Air Defender sends a clear message that NATO is ready to defend every inch of Allied territory”, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, adding, “Air Defender is necessary because we live in a more dangerous world. As we face the biggest security crisis in a generation, we stand united to keep our countries and our people safe.”

The exercise, she added, “is a strong display of Germany’s commitment, and capabilities and we thank Germany for hosting this record exercise. With 250 aircraft, including around 100 from the United States, Air Defender also demonstrates the strong bond between Europe and North America, working together in NATO.” 

Exercise “Air Defender” has been planned for several years. Hosted and led by Germany, it will help ensure NATO air forces are trained and ready to respond together. Most of the aircraft will be stationed on several German air bases. Training missions will primarily take place over the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and Southern Germany. The drills are aimed at boosting interoperability and preparedness to protect against aircraft, drones and missiles attacks on cities and critical infrastructure.

Other training events will include supporting ground troops and evacuation missions. Air Defender will run until 23 June.

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