NATO Preparing Its Largest Air Deployment Exercise in History

The drills will start next week and are meant to prepare for war with Russia

Germany is preparing to lead NATO’s largest-ever air deployment exercises in a show of force meant as a warning to Russia.

The Air Defender 23 will involve 10,000 personnel and 250 aircraft, including 2,000 US Air National Guard troops and 100 American planes. The drills will be held from June 12-23 and will be held in Germany, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Latvia.

US Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann said the exercises will send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “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, and that includes Mr. Putin,” she said.

Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, head of the US Air National Guard, will prepare troops for a great power war. “So this is about now establishing what it means to go against a great power, in a great power competition,” he said.

The drills will simulate a Russian attack on NATO territory and come as the alliance is drawing up plans for war with Russia for the first time since the Cold War. At the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius this July, NATO members are expected to approve thousands of pages of secret military plans that will detail how to respond to a Russian attack.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.