NATO begins largest-ever Air ExercisesWorld | June 12, 2023, Monday // 09:41| views
The largest air force maneuvers in NATO history begin today in German airspace. About 10,000 soldiers and 250 aircraft from 25 countries will participate in the two-week exercises.
Led by the German Bundeswehr, the "Air Defender 2023" exercise will last until June 23 and is aimed at repelling a fictitious attack by an aggressor from the east, DPA and BTA reported. Although the maneuvers are taking place as war rages between Russia and potential NATO candidate Ukraine, German air force officials said the idea for the exercise dates back to 2018, before the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The maneuvers coincide with the peak of summer holiday air travel and estimates of how much civil air traffic will be disrupted vary.
Ingo Gerhartz of the German air force said delays to civilian flights would be in the range of a few minutes, but Matthias Maas of the air traffic control union believed the exercises would have a tangible impact on civil aviation.
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