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Finnish Air Force to participate in the Air Defender 23 exercise in Germany

Air Force
Publication date 12.5.2023 9.00
Press release
Four Finnish F/A-18 Hornets and a German A400M
Four Finnish F/A-18 Hornets and a German A400M. Photo: Gatis Indrēvics.

The Finnish Air Force will deploy four F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters to the multinational Air Defender 23 exercise in Germany on 12‒23 June 2023.

Taking place in June, Air Defender 23 will be a German-led live-fly exercise involving approximately 220 aircraft and 10,000 personnel from 25 participating nations. The aim of the exercise is to demonstrate the agile deployment of NATO air power, and to strengthen transatlantic cooperation. The United States will deploy 100 Air National Guard aircraft from 35 states to the exercise. 

The air activity of the Air Defender 23 exercise will take place mainly in German airspace, but a part of the multinational large-force air operations will extend also to Polish and Czech airspace. The three main exercise areas will be located in northern, eastern and southern parts of Germany. The main operating bases will be Hohn and Jagel in Schleswig-Holstein, Wunstorf in Lower Saxony, and Lechfeld in Bavaria. Other bases across Germany and in neighboring countries will also be used. 

For the Finnish Air Force, the aim of the Air Defender 23 exercise will be to develop fighter tactics and to enhance interoperability with NATO allies in multinational large-force composite air operations (COMAO). The detachment of four Finnish F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters will operate out of Hohn Air Base, located in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. 

‒ We will participate in Air Defender 23 to further enhance our already high level of interoperability with the German, U.S. and other Allied air forces. The exercise will demonstrate our interoperability, and provide the personnel of the Finnish F/A-18 detachment with an opportunity to gain practical experience in planning and executing multinational composite air operations together with our NATO allies, says Brigadier General Timo Herranen, Chief of Staff, Air Force Command Finland.

Air Defender 23 to strengthen the cooperation between the Finnish and German air forces

The bilateral cooperation between the Finnish and German air forces has deepened in recent years. The German Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoons will operate out of Rovaniemi Air Base in Finland during the multinational Arctic Challenge Exercise 23 (ACE 23) at the turn of May and June. A German fighter detachment was deployed to Rovaniemi also during the previous ACE exercise in 2021. In addition, the Finnish and German air forces regularly fly training missions together in the Baltic Sea region, when German fighters are deployed to Ämari Air Base in Estonia for the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. 

The Finnish Air Force’s participation in the Air Defender 23 exercise will be a part of the 2023 international training and exercise activity of the Finnish Defence Forces, approved by the Ministry of Defence.

Badge of the Air Defender 23 exercise. Image: German Air Force.