Germany flies 6 fighters 8K miles in 24 hours to Singapore | Policy
BANGKOK (AP) — A group of German Air Force fighter jets approached Singapore on Tuesday in a marathon attempt to fly them some 12,800 kilometers (8,000 miles) from their home base to Southeast Asia in just 24 hours.
The exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions between China and the United States and its allies over Taiwan and demonstrates a European nation’s ability to move air power quickly in the region.
The European Union unveiled a new strategy in September to strengthen economic, political and defense ties in the Indo-Pacific. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told reporters that although the war in Ukraine is a priority at the moment, the Eurofighter mission stresses that Asia has not been forgotten.
“We stand with all those who defend our values such as democracy, freedom and security, and we are also ready to contribute to them,” she said as the plane took off from Neuburg, in Germany on Monday, according to the dpa news agency. reported.
“At the moment, we are naturally focusing on the eastern flank, responsible for Russia’s brutal war of aggression, but we must also keep an eye on other regions.”
Part of the EU’s new Asia-Pacific strategy focuses on improving maritime security and ensuring safe passage on sea lanes, and several European countries have sent naval assets to the region for maneuvers this year.
As China increasingly asserts itself in the region, the United States, Britain and others have also increasingly made it a priority.
Germany sent the frigate Bayern to the region for a nearly seven-month deployment that ended earlier this year, the first time a German warship had been in the Indo-Pacific for nearly two decades. It took part in joint exercises with allies such as Australia, Singapore, Japan and the United States, and was denied a stopover in China.
The six multirole Eurofighter aircraft involved in the current exercise were accompanied by four transport aircraft and three tankers. They were refueled in-flight throughout the long flight and also made stops along the way for refueling, inspection and pilot rotations.
During a stopover at a base near Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday, the German air force, the Luftwaffe, said two of the Eurofighters had technical problems. One was repaired on site but the other had a fault in its hydraulic system and was therefore retained.
The Luftwaffe said personnel had been sent from Germany to further repair it so it would be available for upcoming exercises in Australia, where all planes are heading to Singapore.
The so-called Pitch Black exercise brings together some 2,500 people and 100 aircraft from around the world for three weeks in Australia’s Northern Territory.
In addition to Germany, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands, European members of NATO, participate, as well as the United States, New Zealand, Korea, the United Arab Emirates, India , Japan, Thailand and others.
The exercise is designed to test and improve the integration of multinational forces and “recognize Australia’s strong relationship and the high value we place on regional security and fostering closer ties across the Indo- Pacific,” the Royal Australian Air Force said.
After Aug. 19-Sept. 8 exercise in Australia, the German jets must stop in Japan and South Korea on the way back.
This story corrects the distance traveled by planes.
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