Allied air forces began the largest deployment exercise in NATO’s history on Monday 12 June 2023. Twenty-five nations took part in the two-week long “Air Defender 2023” exercise, with around 10,000 personnel and 250 aircraft. “Air Defender sends a clear message that NATO is ready to defend every inch of Allied territory”, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, adding, “Air Defender is necessary because we live in a more dangerous world. As we face the biggest security crisis in a generation, we stand united to keep our countries and our people safe. With 250 aircraft, including around 100 from the United States, Air Defender also demonstrates the strong bond between Europe and North America, working together in NATO.” 


Exercise Air Defender 2023 has been planned for over five years. Hosted and led by Germany, it helped to ensure NATO air forces are trained and ready to respond together. Most of the aircraft were stationed on several German air bases. Training missions primarily took take place over the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and Southern Germany. The drills were aimed at boosting interoperability and preparedness to protect against aircraft, drones and missiles attacks on cities and critical infrastructure. Other training events included supporting ground troops and evacuation missions. Air Defender ran until 23 June.


Deployed aircraft to Germany for Air Defender 2023:


Wunstorf:       -11 C-130H/J             sev units ANG

                        -1 C-27J                      Esc 902 / Romanian Air Force

Neuburg:         -3 EF-2000                 ALA14 /  Spanish Air Force (1st week only)

Hohn:              -6 F/A-18E/F             VFA-31/37/87/312 / US Navy

                        -2 E/A-18G                 VAQ-142 / US Navy

                        -8 F-15C                     131 FS / MA ANG

                        -8 F-15C                     122 FS / LA ANG

                        -4 F/A-18C                 HavLLv31 / Finish Air Force

                        -4 Typhoon FGR.4     1 Sqn / RAF (1st week only)

Jagel:              -7 F-16C                   120 FS / CO ANG

                        -7 F-16C                     175 FS / SD ANG

                        -6 A-10C                    107 FS / MI ANG

                        -6 A-10C                    104 FS / MD ANG (2nd week only)

                        -5 JAS39C                 MH 59 / Hungarian Air Force

                        -3 F-16C                     151 Filo / Turkish Air Force

Spangdahlem:  -6 F-35A                    134 FS / VT ANG

                           -3 F-16C/D                179 FS / MN ANG

Ramstein:      -4 KC-135R                 sev units / ANG

Geilenkirchen:-2 KC-46A                  133 ARS / NH ANG

                         -1 KC-135R                153 ARS / MS ANG

Laage:             -2 EF2000                   51 Stormo / Italian Air Force

Lechfeld:        -6 A-10C                      190 FS / ID ANG

                        -3 F-16C                       347 Mira / Greek Air Force