Stealth jets and defense of NATO’s eastern flank: Ukraine seeks to expand its air force cooperation in response to the Russian war of aggression against Germany and the United States. During a visit to Germany on Monday, US Air Force Chief General Charles Brown welcomed the new “Zietenwende” billion-euro program for investment in the Bundeswehr. The planned purchase of the F-35 stealth jet makes Germany a member of a club that is the linchpin for close personal and business ties.
Brown visited Tactical Air Force Squadron 73 “Steinhof” at Laz Air Base in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is involved in the defense of NATO’s eastern flank – one of the Luftwaffe’s four Eurofighter locations. Eurofighter training also takes place there. Brown – himself a fighter pilot – flew in a two-seater Eurofighter. The Air Force inspector, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, accompanied him on the second plane.
Air Force as First Responder
“In a crisis like this, I see the Air Force as the first responder. We’ve also shown that we are,” Gerhartz said. The lieutenant general noted the establishment of German protective flights in the east and southeast of NATO territory and the Patriot anti-aircraft system in Slovakia. It is part of Germany’s NATO partnership. The term first responder describes someone who gives the “first responder” in distress—that is, the first person to get there.
US President Joe Biden announced an increased troop presence at the NATO summit in Madrid in late June – with a focus on the eastern side of NATO. The White House announced that additional air defense forces would be deployed in Germany and Italy. According to this, about 625 additional soldiers will be sent to the Federal Republic. In Poland, “the first permanent US troops to be stationed on the eastern side of NATO” – so far they have been there on a rotation basis.
Biden had said: “Together with our allies, we will ensure that NATO is able to counter threats from all directions and in all areas – on land, in the air and at sea.” Brown now said that talks were ongoing with European allies about the exact composition of the troops’ increased presence. NATO rapidly came together and used its skills. “All the training was to be prepared for moments like this. The main point is the defense of NATO and NATO territory.”
Brown is responsible for the training, education, and equipment of 689,000 U.S. Air Force soldiers, civilian crews, and reservists. In the lage he was also shown how to do training on simulators. The capabilities of the Eurofighter in flight operations were demonstrated to him himself.
In the United States, the German role is now viewed more positively after a long dispute over defense spending, which was criticized for being too low. Recently, it has also been emphasized several times that Germany plays a central role as a nation with the vision and skills to be a leading nation.