Twenty-five NATO Allied and Partner Nations concluded exercise Air Defender 2023, on Friday, June 23, 2023 in Germany. Planning for this exercise began in 2018, aiming to exercise air operations with Allied forces. Around 10,000 service members with 250 aircraft from 25 nations arrived in Germany, flying between multiple Air Bases. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with pilots and aircrew during a visit to the exercise, commending German leadership and participants on their success. Germany initiated the exercise to model a NATO Article 5 assistance scenario.
“This exercise sends a message that NATO is ready to defend every inch of Allied territory and to defend every inch of Allied air space. Air defence is important at all times to keep our people safe. Germany serves as a critical hub for sustainment and deployment of Allied Forces throughout Europe. German leadership in our Alliance remains essential for peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
The participating nations will mainly conduct operations from the sites at:Jagel/Hohn in Schleswig-Holstein, Wunstorf in Lower Saxony, Lechfeld in Bavaria, Spangdahlem in Rhineland-Palatinate, Volkel in the Netherlands and ?áslav in the Czech Republic. The three main hubs during Air Defender 23 are Schleswig/Hohn, Wunstorf and Lechfeld. The exercises will be conducted mainly in three airspaces over Germany. The exercise areas are based on areas that have been used by the Air Force for routine training for decades. However, they have been expanded for Air Defender 23 and partly connected by corridors.
Participants were under command of the German Air Force, who also took on the lead role as the logistics hub. This large-scale exercise tested the Alliance’s ability to react and defend NATO air space, and to ensure the safety of NATO Allies. The following nations are participating: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. Aircraft from partner nations will be stationed at several locations in Germany during the exercise.