Nato to hold largest-ever air drills over Germany

Berlin, Jun 7 (EFE).- Germany is set to host the largest air deployment in Nato’s history in a move that is intended to display the defense alliance’s unity and strength, German and American officials said on Wednesday.

The Air Defender 23 exercise starting on Monday, June 12 will bring together 10,000 participants and 250 military jets from 25 countries to conduct a response to a simulated attack on a Nato member state.

“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, told reporters at the press conference.

“It will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt the agility and the swiftness of our allied force in NATO as a first responder,” Gutmann added.

The US official said the drill would display the alliance’s most advanced technology, powerful weapons and combat and prevention machines.

“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 continued. “And that includes Mr. Putin.”

Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, director of the US Air National Guard, said the exercise was not just about “deterrence,”

“So this is about now establishing what it means to go against a great power, in a great power competition,” the American general added.

Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, inspector general of the German Air Force, stressed that NATO is a defensive alliance and that as such the drill, led by Germany, would be a “defensive exercise.”

“We are showing that NATO territory is our red line, that we are prepared to defend every centimeter of this territory,” Gerhartz said.

Due to possible effects the drill could have on civil air traffic and the noise pollution of the roughly 2,000 flights, Gerhartz warned that noise levels during the duration of the exercise would be greater but that it would be for a limited period of ten days.

“If we want to demonstrate that we are ready to defend this country and this alliance, we have to accept this,” Gerhartz said. ”You don’t get security for free.”EFE


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