From Monday it will be loud over Germany: The NATO exercise "Air Defender" starts. You can read here what this means for citizens.
Frankfurt – It is the largest NATO exercise since the end of the Second World War: the "Air Defender 23". More than 250 aircraft will fly over Germany between 12 and 23 June – with up to 10000,25 soldiers from 5 nations. The exercise of the air force, which is taking place under German leadership, is intended to recreate the so-called Article <> mutual assistance scenario. In other words, one or more NATO partners are attacked and the other allies provide assistance. The most important questions and answers from the citizens' point of view.
Air Defender: Is the NATO exercise dangerous for the people of Germany?
According to the Bundeswehr, the exercise will be harmless to the civilian population. All scenarios, such as air combat, would be flown in real life. However, the systems of the air force have the possibility to digitally simulate an air combat, which includes, for example, the launch of guided missiles. This will be used throughout the exercise.
|Mission name||Air Defender 23|
|Period||12 to 23 June 2023|
When and where will the Air Defender exercise take place?
The exercise will take place in most of German airspace: from Jagel and Hohn in Schleswig-Holstein, via Wunstorf in Lower Saxony, Spangdahlem in Rhineland-Palatinate to Lechfeld in Bavaria. Military aircraft are also taking off abroad: in Volkel in the Netherlands and Caslav in the Czech Republic, according to tageschau.de. According to the Bundeswehr, the burden on the population is to be kept low. In terms of time, practice is to take place in the practice room east, i.e. on the Baltic Sea, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and in parts of Saxony, between 10 a.m. and 14 p.m. In the practice room south, especially Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, practice takes place between 13 p.m. and 17 p.m. and in the practice room north, i.e. above the North Sea, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, between 16 p.m. and 20 p.m. No exercises are planned at night and on weekends.
To what extent are air travelers affected by the NATO exercise?
As the Bundeswehr announced, the NATO exercise could lead to delayed civilian flights. However, the company is working closely with the authorities responsible for aviation safety, airlines and civil aerodromes and will optimise processes and procedures in order to minimise the impact on civil air traffic as far as possible. Flight cancellations are not to be expected.
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Preparationsfor the Air Force operation "Air Defender" are in full swing. © Rainer Droese/Imago
Air Defender: What is being done to minimise the impact on civil aviation?
The exact impact of the "Air Defender 23" on civilian flights has so far been controversial. Boris Pistorius and Volker Wissing, the Federal Ministers of Defence and Transport, asked the states to relax the ban on night flights. This would allow delayed passenger jets to fly late in the evening. At Frankfurt Airport, late take-offs are approved until 24:00, as long as the delay was triggered by the NATO exercise. In Stuttgart, on the other hand, passenger flights are allowed to take off until 02.00 a.m., and longer operating hours are also on the horizon in Hamburg and Düsseldorf.
What should air travelers pay attention to during this time?
Air travelers should pay attention to a few things during the NATO exercise. According to the airports, travelers should inform themselves about the current status of their flight before boarding and pay attention to messages from the airline or tour operator. The Bundeswehr advises to address individual inquiries about the impact on civil air traffic to the respective airline.
How will the NATO exercise ensure that scheduled services and military aircraft do not get in each other's way?
According to the German air traffic control, air traffic controllers will be informed in good time about the activation of the training airspaces. Then this airspace would not be available for civil air traffic. Aircraft would be piloted past such areas by air traffic controllers. In addition, the air traffic controllers ensure a safe distance between the boundaries of the training airspaces and civil aviation through their instructions to the aircraft.
Why is the Air Defender exercise necessary?
According to the Bundeswehr, the exercise is necessary, among other things, to optimize and expand cooperation between the participating nations. In addition, they want to show strength in the alliance. (dpa/Nina Brugger)