NATO plans massive air exercise amid Russia-Ukraine conflict


Germany is gearing up to host the largest air deployment exercise in NATO’s history, showcasing its military capabilities to both allies and potential adversaries, including Russia. The upcoming Air Defender 23 exercise, scheduled to commence next week, will involve an impressive display of strength, with 10,000 participants and 250 aircraft from 25 nations. The primary objective of the exercise is to simulate a coordinated response to a hypothetical attack on a NATO member state.
The United States, in particular, is making a substantial contribution to the exercise. The US Air National Guard is dispatching 2,000 personnel and approximately 100 aircraft to participate in the training maneuvers, underscoring its commitment to NATO and collective defense. The exercise aims to enhance interoperability, cooperation, and readiness among the participating nations, fostering a stronger defense alliance.
The event serves as a clear demonstration of NATO’s unity and determination to protect its member countries. By conducting such large-scale exercises, Germany and its allies aim to send a strong message to potential adversaries, emphasizing their resolve and preparedness. This exercise also provides an opportunity for military personnel to refine their skills, test equipment and procedures, and strengthen collaborative efforts in a challenging operational environment.Air Defender 23 underscores the importance of collective defense and reinforces NATO’s commitment to maintaining security and stability in the face of evolving global threats. The exercise serves as a visible display of military strength, intended to both deter potential aggressors and reassure NATO allies of their collective capabilities and readiness.
“This is an exercise that would be absolutely impressive to anybody who’s watching, and we don’t make anybody watch it,” US Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann said.
“It will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt the agility and the swiftness of our allied force in NATO as a first responder,” she said.
“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,” Gutmann said.
“And that includes Mr Putin,” she added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the drill, which is being led by Germany, has been planned since 2018, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year has jolted NATO into preparing in earnest for the possibility of an attack on its territory. Sweden, which is hoping to join the alliance, and Japan are also taking part in the exercise.