Germany kicks off largest multinational air force exercise
The objective is to exercise air operations with allied and partner air forces, with the focus on optimising and expanding cooperation among participating nations.
‘With exercise Air Defender 23, we are opening a new chapter in transatlantic history,’ said Lt Gen Ingo Gerhartz, Chief of the German Air Force, earlier this year.
The drill, which Germany started to plan in 2018, is based on a collective defence scenario also known as Article 5 scenario in which allies deploy their air forces to Germany to fight against hybrid occupation forces from a fictitious opponent.
In coordinated combined operations, the allied air forces demonstrate they are capable of defending NATO territory with swift decisive action.
The exercise involves almost 10.000 personnel and more than 250 aircraft from 25 nations and NATO.
The USAF deploying to Germany are mostly Air National Guard units from 35 US states. The bulk of participating forces operate out of three German Air Force bases and others fly in from their home bases.
Germany's ability to receive and host large aircraft contingents at its airfields enabled among others the US Agile Combat Employment concept facilitating short-term and out-and-back deployments.
Air Defender is also a major demonstration of NATO's Deterrence and Defence in the Euro-Altantic area that is to reassure populations of Allied cohesion and commitment.
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