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NATO hosts largest air-deployment exercises in history

by Haley Zehrung June 13, 2023 3:48 AM 2 min read
Allied aircraft participating in German Air Force led exercise Air Defender 2023. (Photo byNATO Allied Air Command)
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Allied air forces participated in the largest military air exercises in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's history in Germany on June 12, NATO announced on its website.  

The two-week exercise, called Air Defender 23, includes nearly 10,000 personnel and 250 aircraft from 25 countries.

The exercises, which Germany has been planning since 2018, are modeled on a scenario in which NATO allies need to deploy their forces to Germany as quickly as possible to fight against hypothetical occupational forces.

Even though Germany began planning the multinational exercise more than five years ago, Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine was a catalyzing force in seriously preparing for the possibility of a NATO air deployment.

Air defense has consistently been a weak spot for the Ukrainian military and has largely been supplemented by international support. Recently, allies agreed to give Ukraine F-16 fighter jets and to provide training to Ukrainian pilots to build a "fighter jet coalition," and increase Ukraine's air defense capabilities.

According to NATO, training missions will primarily take place over the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and Southern Germany, but will not directly aim at any Russian territory. The exercises will take place until June 23.

"Air Defender sends a clear message that NATO is ready to defend every inch of Allied territory,” said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu. "As we face the biggest security crisis in a generation, we stand united to keep our countries and our people safe."

Reznikov: June 15 Ramstein summit to focus on ‘fighter jet coalition’
At the next Ramstein summit set to take place on June 15, Kyiv and Ukraine’s allies will discuss the details of the “fighter jet coalition,” in particular, the training of Ukrainian pilots and technicians to fly and maintain Western combat aircraft, said Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
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