Germany is hosting NATO’s largest air exercise over Europe, with hundreds of military planes from member countries simulating the alliance’s response to an attack on Europe.
More than 20 partner countries and about 250 aircraft are participating in the exercise, including F-35 fighters from the US and Dutch air forces, as well as AWACS reconnaissance aircraft, aerial refueling and transport aircraft from the Japanese Air Force.
The exercises will be held at four locations in Germany, as well as one in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
The maneuvers will test the NATO Air Force’s ability to respond to crisis situations in Europe amid rising tensions with Russia.
Germany’s military has warned the huge air force drill will have an impact on people using civil airlines in Europe.
Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, of the German Air Force, explained: “I know there could be restrictions on civil air traffic. On the issue of aircraft noise, we have a higher intensity, of course, where we’re going to be flying.”
While the exercise was planned for several years, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has jolted NATO into preparing in earnest for the possibility of an attack on its territory. Sweden, which is hoping to join the alliance, and Japan are also taking part in the exercise.