“With exercise Air Defender 23, we are opening a new chapter in transatlantic history,” said Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, Chief of the German Air Force at a press conference for German and American journalists in the United States in early April.
With exercise Air Defender 23, we are opening a new chapter in transatlantic history
The exercise - which Germany started to plan in 2018 - is based on a collective defence scenario also known as Article 5 scenario in which Allies deploy their air forces to Germany to fight against hybrid occupation forces from a fictitious opponent.
In coordinated combined operations, the Allied air forces demonstrate they are capable of defending NATO territory with swift decisive action. The exercise's large scale operations involve almost 10,000 personnel and more than 250 aircraft from 25 nations and NATO.
The US air forces deploying to Germany are mostly Air National Guard units from 35 US States. The bulk of the participating forces operate out of three German Air Force bases and others fly in from their home bases.
Air Defender 23 demonstrates transatlantic solidarity through the visible contribution of US air forces. Germany's ability to receive and host large aircraft contingents at its airfields enabling among others the US Agile Combat Employment concept facilitating short-term and out-and-back deployments. Last, but not least Air Defender is a major demonstration of NATO's Deterrence and Defence in the Euro-Atlantic area that is to reassure populations of Allied cohesion and commitment.
According to the German Air Chief, Lieutenant General Gerhartz, Germany - by planning, organising, and conducting Air Defender 2023 - responds to calls to accept more responsibility in the global security domain.