NATO begins largest air defense exercise in Europe

During the two-week “Air Defender 2023” exercise, fighter jets will conduct defensive maneuvers in German and European airspace under the command of the German Air Force.
The military exercise will demonstrate the strength of NATO and the transatlantic alliance, said Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, the German Air Force chief, Anadolu Agency reported.
“We are a defensive alliance, and in the event of an attack, we are prepared to defend NATO territory, and we simply have to demonstrate this,” he told the public broadcaster RBB.
He also noted that the exercise was not a response to Russia’s operation in Ukraine, and it was first proposed by Germany in 2018, planned out in subsequent years.
Gerhartz said Germany is aware of its responsibilities and wants to play a stronger role for Europe’s security.
“We are now taking responsibility, we are showing that we are taking something into our hands,” he said.
During the exercise, air forces from 25 countries will practice joint operations, responding to a simulated attack on a NATO country.
Of the 250 military aircraft participating, 100 are American, including F-35s and F-16 fighter jets. German Air Force will fly 90 aircraft, including A400M tankers, Eurofighter, and Tornado fighters.

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