Air Defender 2023


Friday, June 2nd, 2023, it's 5 a.m., the alarm clock is ringing, everything is packed, the tension is rising. But for what? One of our members(Max) had a major trip planned. Because he went from Bavaria to the north to make the first arrivals for Air Defender 2023 there. 

With several bags and a car in which everything was transported, we went to the train station. Then we went up with different trains to Schleswig. After almost 8 hours we continued on foot to Jagel Air Base. Luckily there was still a US Air Force C17 in Jagel. After a few minutes the C17 departed and we were able to continue walking to the campsite.

Once there, we were able to settle down in peace and complete the first strenuous day.

In the evening we received the news that a US Navy C2 is to land in Hohn the next day. Luckily we had bicycles at the campsite with which we could set out for Hohn on Saturday morning. 

After almost 1:30h we arrived at Hohn Air Base and the first F18 and EA18 smiled at us.

A C130 arrived and made a rough landing. A few minutes later the C2 also arrived, which made an overhead approach before landing.

After the C2 started again an hour later, we should go back to Jagel, since 7xF16 were planned for the evening.

Since we had calculated the time a little stupidly, we arrived just when the F16 had already flown its overhead, so we had to quickly find a position that had to fit for the moment.

7xF16 of the Colorado ANG successfully landed in Jagel with a special paint job on one F16 and an F16 with Alabama markings. We should also get a C17 that evening.

Later we actually wanted to go back to Hohn for the planned F15, but they arrived before we even made it there. Fortunately, these flew over Jagel, which is why we were able to catch them flying low.

It wasn't supposed to be the next morning. We were supposed to do the F16 that landed Saturday night standing, but then one of our bikes had a flat tire and we had to turn around.

We had to wait a long, long time that Sunday to get something in front of the lens. But around 9 p.m. the time had finally come and we were expecting 7xF16s from South Dakota.

These arrived in beautiful sunset light and our day was done.

Monday morning we had to pack up our things because we were going home in the evening.

For the day we had planned to take the normal missions from the TaktLwg51 with us. It should also work, which is why we were able to drive home relaxed in the evening and arrived very early on Tuesday morning.

But for me (Max) that wasn't enough, so it continues on Wednesday morning. Today we were supposed to go to Lechfeld early, where 3 Greek F16s, a Greek C130, 2 A10s and a C130 by the USAF were expected. Unfortunately, the pilots of the C130 thought they could land with the wind today. That was stupid for us because we were standing on the wrong side of the airfield. Since the Greek F16 was not expected until 1 hour later, we figured we still had enough time to drive to the other side. Shortly before the spot, however, they were already seen flying across the field in 3 ship. We weren't even at our spot yet and the F16s were about to land. So we were stupidly in the backlight. Fortunately, it was enough for one F16. After the flop it went back to the other side to get as little as possible the C130 on departure. We finally managed to do that. Now it was time to wait, because I got the information that that was it for today, because the A10s in Prestwick are unfortunately damaged. But our patience paid off, because suddenly the news got around that both A10s were getting ready in Prestwick for their departure to Lechfeld. Shortly after noon we head in the other direction again in the hope that the A10 will come in from the right side. But first, surprisingly, 2 German Eurofighters came by for a touch and go. However, these then flew on to their training mission. The next guest was the USAF C130 with special markings. Slowly but surely the A10 approached the Bavarian airspace, so that the tension increased. But when we looked at the radar, we saw that the 2 Eurofighters that had previously stopped by were now flying in the direction of the A10. And indeed, our assumption should be confirmed and the A10 were intercepted by the German Eurofighters. A picture that you will hardly see again anytime soon. I got a little goose bumps then. With light, the A10 then arrived safely in Lechfeld. All in all, a day that started stupid and ended absolutely awesome.

But that wasn't enough for me, so I had to go to Neuburg again early on Friday morning, because Air Defender participants were also expected there. 3 Spanish Eurofighters are stationed there during the exercise. These arrived in Neuburg on Friday, according to plan and ahead of schedule. Shortly thereafter, an A400 from the Spanish Air Force followed as support. I didn't want to wait any longer for the departure of the A400 and thus successfully and extensively completed the Air Defender Preparations. Also, I managed to visit 4 out of 5 Air Defender practice sites (for jets) within a week.

All in all, it was a very strenuous week, but it paid off very well. (Sunburn didn't come off badly either)

Written by Max(aviation05)