Ramstein Flag 24: NATO’s Newest Joint Air Power Exercise Comes to Greece:

Konstantinos K
Konstantinos Khttps://substack.com/@polity21hq
Konstantinos is a postgraduate student, researcher, and founder of the Polity21 brand. He specializes in Greek-Turkish relations, conflict and power politics in the Aegean, and the Eastern Mediterranean. His academic and journalistic interests also include Astropolitics, Remote Warfare, and U.S. Grand Strategy.

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NATO’s newest joint air power exercise, Ramstein Flag 2024, will be held in Greece from September to November, involving 14 NATO allies and over 140 fighter aircraft. The exercise aims to enhance interoperability and cooperation among NATO forces in response to evolving geopolitical tensions.

What You Need to Know:

Ramstein Flag 2024 marks the largest NATO exercise ever conducted in Greece, spanning the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) from the Ionian and Aegean Seas to the Eastern Mediterranean. The exercise will involve over 140 fighter aircraft from 14 NATO allies, aiming to enhance interoperability and cooperation over Greece’s diverse terrain.

General James B. Hecker, Commander of the Allied Air Command, emphasized the exercise’s role in advancing tactical excellence and collective deterrence. The Andravida Air Base in the Western Peloponnese will host the fighter aircraft, with the Hellenic Air Force operating primarily from Araxos, home of the 116th Combat Wing.

The exercise’s area of operations, spanning the Ionian Sea, the Peloponnese, and interconnected aeronautical spaces of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, provides suitable terrains for tactical drills. These drills will draw lessons from Ukraine and the Middle East battlefronts, focusing on countering enemy forces’ Anti-Access/Area Denial (C-A2/AD) strategies, Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD), and Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) operations.

Why It Matters:

Ramstein Flag 2024 signifies a pivotal development in NATO’s strategic exercises, reflecting the alliance’s commitment to addressing current and future threats. The exercise will facilitate greater interoperability among various 4.5 and 5th-generation multirole fighter jets, including among others French and Greek-operated Rafale aircraft, American and Italian F-35s, and Swedish Gripen jets.

The exercise also comes amidst ongoing efforts for Greek-Turkish rapprochement, with Turkey among the first NATO allies to welcome the invitation. This participation marks a notable shift, considering past disruptions in NATO exercises within the Athens FIR due to Greek-Turkish conflicts.

The Details:

Ramstein Flag 2024 will involve intensive training for countering C-A2/AD strategies, IAMD, and BMD operations. The exercise will see participation from a diverse fleet of fighter jets, enhancing interoperability and operational readiness.

Athens had previously barred Turkey from participating in the 2022 Tiger Meet exercise due to the latter’s violations of national airspace. and overflights in the run-up to Tiger Meet’s commencement. Turkey’s inclusion in Ramstein Flag 2024 reflects a positive step towards maintaining an appearance of mending bilateral relations in the context of the ongoing Greek-Turkish rapprochement that however falls short of addressing the root cause of the dispute.

While the participation of up to 8 Turkish F-16 jets in the exercise is expected it remains uncertain whether they will operate from their Anatolian home bases or Andravida.


Ramstein Flag 2024 underscores NATO’s adaptive approach to evolving geopolitical tensions, enhancing collective defense capabilities through comprehensive joint exercises. The exercise’s successful execution in Greece will strengthen NATO’s deterrence and operational readiness, contributing to the country’s role in pursuing regional stability and security at the Allienace’s Eastern Flank.

The internationally recognised Athens FIR region, as per the ICAO, disputed only by Turkey since 1974.
Ankara’s NOTAM 714, encroaching upon the Athens FIR, issued in August 1974 and withdrawn in 1980.
NOTAM 714 foreshadowed the ultimate form that Turkish sovereign and territorial claims have since 2019 taken with the so-called “Blue Homeland” (Mavi Vatan) doctrine becoming official state policy.