German Air Force Deploys Eurofighters to Train City Protection

Title: German Air Force Deploys Eurofighters to Train City Protection

Published: Yesterday | Location: Hannover | Reading Time: 2 min

In a groundbreaking move, the German Luftwaffe has temporarily stationed three Eurofighters from the Tactical Air Force Squadron 71 “Richthofen” at Hannover Airport for several days. Starting on Monday, November 27, these unarmed jets will conduct daily training flights towards the North Sea.

Their mission: Preparation for national and alliance defense. The exercise, named “Hannover Shield 2023,” aims to enhance capabilities for protecting population centers, focusing on countering potential airborne threats such as drones or cruise missiles. The scenario envisions Eurofighters as the “guardians of the sky,” detecting and mitigating aerial hazards, complementing ground-based defense systems.

General Lieutenant Ingo Gerhartz, Inspector of the Air Force, states, “We want to improve our ability to protect population centers.” This exercise marks a significant shift, emphasizing the need to safeguard against evolving airborne threats, such as drones and missile systems.

Brigadier General Frank Gräfe, Head of Operations and Exercises at the Air Force Command in Berlin, highlights the exercise’s importance in showcasing a turning point. He emphasizes the collaboration between military and civilian entities, with the state of Lower Saxony supporting the initiative. Lower Saxony’s Minister President Stephan Weil expresses confidence in the Bundeswehr, stating that regular exercises are crucial for maintaining trust in crisis situations.

The exercise, while conducted at the Hannover Airport, will not impact regular air traffic. Airport CEO Martin Roll welcomes the collaboration, underscoring the airport’s resilience and performance. This joint operation aims to familiarize Luftwaffe personnel with civilian procedures and regional specifics.

Following the successful multinational exercise Air Defender 2023 earlier in the year, the Luftwaffe seeks to refine its coordination with civilian partners and adapt to regional nuances. The exercise is part of ongoing efforts to ensure smooth collaboration between military and civilian processes in potential crisis scenarios.

The Wittmund squadron has been utilizing Hannover Airport as an alternate airfield for its Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) for several years. The QRA, consisting of two Eurofighters, remains on standby 24/7 for real interception missions. However, the “Hannover Shield” exercise is not aimed at real emergencies; rather, it focuses on comprehensive training scenarios.