Thirteen German military aircraft were on their way to Australia on Tuesday as Germany looks to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region amid growing tensions with China.
The six Eurofighters and seven military transport aircraft were due to land in Singapore on Tuesday before travelling on to Australia under the mission dubbed Rapid Pacific 2022.
The fleet will take part in training exercises in Australia and Singapore before stopping off in Japan and South Korea on the way back to Germany, the Luftwaffe German air force said.
The Luftwaffe’s first deployment to the region and comes at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and the West after China launched military drills around Taiwan following a visit earlier this month by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governed island.
The aim of the mission is for the Luftwaffe to “test its interoperability with allies inside and outside NATO in the Indo-Pacific”, the German army said.
Germany has been looking to boost its presence in the Indo-Pacific and in August 2021 dispatched a frigate to the region for the first time in almost 20 years.
The six Eurofighters and around 250 German soldiers will take part in two training exercises in Australia, known as Pitch Black and Kakadu.
The missions will involve both air-to-air and air-to-surface combat exercises, including training in how to protect ships from the air.