Four Tornado fighter jets of Tactical Air Force Squadrons 33 and 51 "Immelmann" fly back to Germany from the Counter Daesh mission abroad. 16 Tornadoes are planned for Air Defender. © Bundeswehr/Miriam Altfelder
"Air Defender 23" is the name of one of the largest NATO maneuvers of the post-war period. It takes place in June in Germany. All important information and dates can be found here.
Berlin – NATO is planning a mega-maneuver in German airspace. Under the name "Air Defender 23", "the largest deployment exercise of air forces since the existence of NATO" is taking place, the Bundeswehr announced. It is not yet possible to say conclusively what the military exercise means for civil aviation. Apart from the noise, the Luftwaffe wants to keep the restrictions in the airspace over Germany "as low as possible".
"Air Defender 23": What is behind the NATO exercise over Germany and Europe?
More than 23 aircraft and 220,10 female soldiers from 000 nations are involved in the "Air Defender 24" exercise, which will take place in June. The air operation of the allied forces will take place from June 12 to 23. According to the Bundeswehr, Germany is assuming the role of a "defense hub within Europe." This means that Germany is planning and leading this NATO exercise and providing the airspace.
|Air Defender 23: NATO exercise in Germany||scheduled from 12 to 23 June 2023|
|Nations||24 countries are taking part in the largest deployment exercise of air forces since NATO was founded.|
|Fighter jets and aircraft||220 aircraft, 23 different types of aircraft|
"The scenario is modeled on an Article 5 assistance scenario," the Bundeswehr announced on its website. Thus, the joint response to an armed attack against one or more allies is assumed. The aim of the Air Defender exercise is therefore "to optimize and expand the cooperation of the participating nations and at the same time show strength in the alliance" - and this in the middle of the Ukraine war and in the midst of China's expanding threats towards Taiwan.
Fighter jet maneuver "Air Defender 23": NATO training for emergencies
In order to be prepared for a real crisis, pilots and crews should practice according to the principle of "train as you fight" according to the principle of "train as you fight" German where they will be deployed in an emergency. According to the Bundeswehr, 100 aircraft from the USA alone will be sent to Europe. They are part of the U.S. Air National Guard. The large-scale maneuver is the "largest deployment exercise of air forces since the founding of NATO," as Merkur.de reported.
"Air Defender 23": NATO trains in German airspace in June. © Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces)
Map: Which regions are affected by the NATO exercise in Germany?
In the joint air operation "Air Defender 23", 24 nations are practicing in three airspaces over Germany. The exercises will be carried out mainly in three flight corridors over Germany. According to the Bundeswehr, the three main hubs during "Air Defender 23" are Jagel/Hohn airfield near Schleswig and Wunstorf air base near Hanover, as well as Lechfeld (Bavaria). In addition to the locations in Germany, the locations Vokel (Netherlands) and Čáslav (Czech Republic) are also planned.
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- Airspace North: (Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hamburg): Flights take off from the military bases of Wunstorf in Lower Saxony and Jagel/Hohn in Schleswig-Holstein along the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts.
- Airspace East (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony): The manoeuvres over eastern Germany take off from the Laage base and extend from the Baltic Sea to Saxony.
- Airspace South (Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland): The southern corridor stretches from the Bavarian site of Lechfeld, south of Augsburg, to Spangdahlem in Rhineland-Palatinate.
The detailed planning of flight times and flight routes over Germany has not yet been completed, the Bundeswehr announced. The three training rooms are to be used at different times for the air manoeuvres. What is certain is that there will be no training flights over the weekend (17 and 18 June).
However, the three military air training areas North, South and East are used daily for two to four hours. There will be no civil aviation during this period. The airspace is closed to air traffic for at least two hours. What the temporary closure means for civil aviation remains to be seen. However, flights on Saturday and Sunday are not affected. Currently, no air exercise is planned for the weekend (17 and 18 June).
|Air Defender 23: NATO manoeuvres from 12 to 23 June||Flight times of air operations except on weekends|
|Airspace North||between 16 p.m. and 20 p.m.|
|Airspace East||between 10 p.m. and 14 p.m.|
|South Airspace||between 13 p.m. and 17 p.m.|
NATO maneuvers in Germany: These nations take part in "Air Defender 23"
- Czech Republic
- United States
- United Kingdom
Eurofighter and Tornado: These fighter jets and aircraft of the Bundeswehr are in service
According to its own information, the Air Force is taking part in the exercise with 64 aircraft: 30 Eurofighters, 16 Tornadoes, five A400Ms and three A330 AAR for refuelling, as well as two LJ35s, two A-4s and four light support helicopters (LUH) 145 will take turns over Germany. (ml)