Portugal takes part in NATO exercise “Air Defender” 2023 with two F-16s


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Portugal will take part in NATO exercise “Air Defender” 2023 with two F-16 aircraft based in Lithuania, the Minister of National Defense announced today.

Helena Carreiras was speaking before the parliamentary defense committee in the Portuguese parliament when she was questioned by MP Pedro Pessanha about why Portugal was not among the countries taking part in the Atlantic Alliance’s biggest air defense exercise since its creation, which runs until June 23 in Germany.

“Portugal has participated in all NATO exercises and is also taking part in this one. I’ll explain why it’s not on the list as an individual participant, as a state. Because the Portuguese planes that are in Lithuania for the air police will take part in the exercise, but as part of the ground mission, that’s why Portugal doesn’t appear as a state, but I can guarantee that our planes will take part in this exercise,” he replied.

A few moments later, in response to the parliamentary leader of the Liberal Initiative (IL), Rodrigo Saraiva, Helena Carreiras clarified that of the four aircraft in Lithuania, two F-16s were taking part in the exercise.

This Atlantic Alliance exercise involves 10,000 people and 220 aircraft from 25 countries.

Called Air Defender 2023 (AD23), the exercise will be coordinated by the German air force (Luftwaffe) and will involve Sweden and Japan, two countries that are not members of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

Other participants include Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the USA.

NATO’s largest air defense exercise will take place in the midst of Russia’s war with Ukraine, which Moscow launched on February 24, 2022.

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