NATO holds largest air drills designed to deter Russia
June 12, 2023 - June 23, 2023 - Germany is set to host NATO’s largest-ever air force wargames in the alliance’s history, designed to prove how fast it can respond to potential Russian aggression against one of its members.
The Air Defender exercise will last 10 days and involve up to 10,000 troops and 250 aircraft from 23 Nato member states. Sweden, which has applied to join the western military alliance, will also take part, along with Japan.
The operation will be conducted from several hubs across Germany, placing the country centre stage as it strives to take a more prominent role in European security. It will feature aircraft including F-35, Eurofighter, Tornado and Gripen jets as well as Reaper drones, helicopters, cargo aircraft and tankers.
Large blocks of airspace will be closed to civil aircraft during the exercise. Each will be closed or heavily restricted for civilian traffic for several hours each day. The exercise comes while the skies of Europe are busier than at any time since 2019, before the Covid pandemic.