TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid the tense situation in the Taiwan Strait, the German air force sent fighter jets to Asia for the first time on Tuesday (Aug. 16) to take part in exercises in Australia and will also fly near Taiwan, marking the largest overseas deployment of German military aircraft since WW II.
Six German Eurofighter Typhoons took off from an airbase in the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Monday evening (Aug. 15). Their first stop was Singapore, covering a distance of 12,800 kilometers within 24 hours with the help of three A330 aerial tankers. The squadron is scheduled to fly to Australia to take part in a 17-nation joint military exercise from late August to September dubbed "Pitch Black."
At the end of September, the squadron will head north from Singapore. After visiting Japan and South Korea, the fighter jets will begin the long journey back to Germany and will fly in "airspace adjacent" to Taiwan along the way, reported CNA.
In order to carry out the mission, which is code-named "Rapid Pacific 2022," the German air force will also dispatch four A400M transport aircraft, bringing the total number of aircraft to 13 with 250 officers and enlisted men participating. This is the first time the German air force has flown aircraft to the Indo-Pacific since its founding in 1956.
German fighters will fly through the airspace near Taiwan at a sensitive time when the situation in the Taiwan Strait is tense with daily People's Liberation Army (PLA) intrusions across the median line following a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Aug. 2-3. German air force chief, Ingo Gerhartz, was cited by DW as saying that the fighters will "barely touch" the South China Sea, and will not pass through the Taiwan Strait as they stick to international routes.
Regarding the flight path of the jets near Taiwan, "The South China Sea, Taiwan — these are obviously the sticking points in the region," said Gerhartz. He then denied "sending any threatening message towards China" by participating in the war games in Australia.
We are about to start our 24h-Luftwaffe-challenge. Follow us here for all news about #RapidPacific2022. From Germany to Singapore in 24hr. @GermanyInOz @GermanyinSGP @GermanyinJapan @GermanyinKorea @AusAirForce @JASDF_PAO_ENG @TheRSAF pic.twitter.com/Q2Ek4JF4PZ— Team Luftwaffe (@Team_Luftwaffe) August 15, 2022
Guten Tag The German Air Force, known as the 'Luftwaffe', will participate in Exercise #PitchBlack22 for the first time! Travelling to Australia as part of #RapidPacific2022, @Team_Luftwaffe will arrive with over 200 personnel and 10 aircraft.— Defence Australia (@DefenceAust) August 15, 2022