The radar warning receiver uses hectic displays to signal the launch of several enemy guided missiles. I interrupt my attack and bring my EUROFIGHTER out of the range of the potentially deadly missiles with an 8G U-turn. I am immediately warned that I have been detected by a previously unknown air defense position, and a few seconds later I see the launch of the surface-to-air guided missile on the screen. The distance is too short to escape, so I start the emergency maneuver, press the switch for the towed jammer and release decoys. Luckily, I'm not really in danger of being hit because I'm on one of the numerous large-scale exercises that take place every year. The use of weapons was only simulated.

I am regularly asked why we carry out such large, loud, expensive exercises, especially now in view of the war in Ukraine. The modern battlefield in the sky is complex; no aircraft type can survive alone. For this reason, almost all missions are carried out as combined air operations, so-called COMAOS (Composite Air Operations). Many different types of aircraft work towards a common mission goal. Each guy in the role he can best fill. These COMAOS are large, training them requires many aircraft involved. In order to achieve this, long-term planned exercises are required, just like Air Defender 23. Why are we training now? Because renunciation of violence never works unilaterally. Anyone who finds themselves confronted with an actor who is prepared to enforce their interests with violence must be able to credibly deny them this option in order to maintain the peace under coercion. Air forces bear the greatest initial risk of a war, they are always the tip of the spear and therefore have a high risk of losses at the beginning of a conflict. Accordingly, we have a very strong need for peace. That's exactly why we train. That's why we keep our sword sharp and our shield pure. Hoping never to have to use them.
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