NATO's largest air forces exercise kicks off next week

U.S. fighter jets at Estonia's Ämari Air Space in 2022.
U.S. fighter jets at Estonia's Ämari Air Space in 2022. Source: Väino

Air Defender 2023, the largest NATO air forces deployment exercise in the alliance's history, takes place next week in Germany, Czechia, Estonia, and Latvia.

From June 12-23, up to 10,000 exercise participants from 25 nations with 250 aircraft will train air operations in European airspace under the command of the German Air Force.

Participating Air Forces will be exposed to training scenarios simulating a NATO Article 5 scenario, i.e. collective defense of Alliance territory, a statement said.

The exercise also demonstrates transatlantic solidarity.

Presenting the plans, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann was reported as saying by AFP that the exercise is purely defensive in nature, but it is intended to send a message to countries including Russia.

"I would be pretty surprised if any world leader was not taking note of what this shows in terms of the spirit of this alliance, which means the strength of this alliance, and that includes Mr Putin," she told reporters, referring to the Russian president.

"By synchronizing together, we multiply our force."

The exercise will include operational and tactical-level training, primarily in Germany, but also in Czechia, Estonia and Latvia.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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