DEFENSE | German Air Force Exercise "Arctic Defender" Kicks Off in Alaska

In a significant display of international military cooperation, the German Air Force has launched its exercise "Arctic Defender" in Alaska, marking the beginning of a series of joint maneuvers across the Indo-Pacific region. Scheduled to run from July 8 to July 18, this exercise is part of the broader "Pacific Skies 24" initiative, which involves multiple air forces from Europe and the United States.


The "Arctic Defender" exercise, led by the German Air Force, is set to take place in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC), the largest combat training range in the world. This complex provides an expansive environment for training, covering over 77,000 square miles of airspace. The exercise is designed to enhance interoperability among participating forces and to demonstrate the capabilities of the tri-national Future Combat Air System of Germany, France, and Spain.


Approximately 500 multilateral service members are expected to participate in the exercise, representing Germany, France, Spain, the United States, and Canada. They will operate and support a diverse fleet of over 60 aircraft from 12 units. This includes German Air Force PA-200 Tornado multi-purpose combat aircraft, Eurofighters, A330 and A400M air-to-air refueling aircraft, and other assets from the participating nations. The training at "Arctic Defender" will range from individual skills to complex, large-scale joint engagements, allowing participants to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures. The exercise aims to improve the operational readiness and effectiveness of the participating forces in simulated air combat conditions.

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Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, the Chief of the German Air Force, emphasized the importance of this exercise, stating, "With Pacific Skies 24, we as Europeans show our face in a part of the world that is so important to all of us. Together with Spain and France, we are deploying to the Indo-Pacific region and taking part in five different exercises." The "Arctic Defender" exercise not only strengthens military ties between the participating nations but also underscores the commitment to maintaining a rules-based international order and responding effectively to dynamic security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. As the first stop of the "Pacific Skies 24" tour, the "Arctic Defender" exercise sets the stage for further cooperation and joint training activities in Japan, Australia, and India, as part of the broader initiative to enhance the collective defense capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region. The presence of such a large-scale international military exercise in Alaska also highlights the strategic importance of the region and the commitment of the participating nations to ensuring stability and security in the Indo-Pacific.

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