Air Defender 2023: the largest air force deployment in NATO history concluded

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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.

“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,” said  Stoltenberg. “Air defence is important at all times to keep our people safe.”



Germany initiated the exercise to model a NATO Article 5 assistance scenario. Participants were under command of the German Air Force, who also took on the lead role as the logistics hub.

“Germany serves as a critical hub for sustainment and deployment of allied forces throughout Europe,” said Stoltenberg. “German leadership in our Alliance remains essential for peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

This large-scale exercise tested the Alliance’s ability to react and defend NATO air space, and to ensure the safety of our Allies.



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