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Friday 9, June

Air Defender 2023: Enormous NATO manoeuvres to take place around Berlin

The military exercises around Berlin will be the largest air force deployment exercise since the founding of NATO.

More than 250 military aircraft will take part in the operation. Photo: IMAGO / localpic

Friday 10, June

Air Defender 2023: Huge NATO manoeuvres to be held around Berlin next week

This is the largest deployment exercise of the Air Force since the founding of NATO

Next week, if you see large numbers of military aircraft flying in formation, don’t be afraid: they’re just practising.

Starting next Monday and set to last for almost two weeks, NATO is going to hold a Europe-wide Air Force exercise called Air Defender 2023. Despite being named like a low-budget early 90s video game, this is a serious operation. More than 10,000 soldiers and 250 military aircraft are going to take part, making this the largest deployment exercise of the Air Force since the founding of NATO. And, if you’re inclined to worry, it might not soothe your mind to know the exact scenario that is being modelled: they’re practising for an “Article 5 assistance scenario” – meaning a situation where one or more NATO partners are attacked and the entire alliance is called into action. In other words, World War 3.

If that wasn’t enough to concern you, the most immediate effect of all this will be serious delays at BER and other airports across Europe. Because so much of the operation is a military secret, it is hard for the airlines to predict exactly to what extent air traffic will be affected, but passengers should expect delays and cancellations.

Unfortunately, compensation for these disruptions is not likely, since airlines are not responsible for the military operation. As a general rule, military aviation always takes precedence over civilian air traffic – and this enormous operation was approved by all NATO partners.