Israel hosts 7 air forces in largest drill in its history

The IAF is hosting hundreds of pilots and support crews from air forces from seven nations, in the largest air drill in the Jewish state’s history.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is hosting air forces from seven nations, in the largest air drill in the Jewish state’s history.

Some 100 aircraft and several hundred pilots and support crews from the US, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India and Italy will arrived in Israel for Blue Flag. Officers and attaches from nearly 40 countries are also attending as observers.

Established in 2013, Blue Flag is a biennial, two-week drill aimed at improving the type of planning, targeting and coordinated command and control required by coalitions operating together.

The goal of the exercise, conducted out of Uvda Airbase in the south, is to simulate extreme combat scenarios and to fly in coalition as realistically as possible.

Israel’s Blue Flag does not pit forces against one another; rather, it stresses cooperation over competition.

Among the seven participants, India, France and Germany are attending Blue Flag for the first time.

“The ‘Blue-Flag’ exercise is a significant quantum leap in our ability to hold an exercise and provide our multi-national participants with a quality training experience as performed in Israel,” said Lt. Col. Nadav, Commander of the 133rd Squadron (“Knights of the Twin Tail”), which operates “Baz” (F-15) fighter jets and is leading the exercise.

“This is a significant milestone in our relationship with the international air forces, some of which are arriving in Israel to train for the first time. This exercise will allow us to continue cooperating with these forces in the future as well,” he added.

“The IAF has two main goals in the exercise: the first is to improve the operational readiness of all air forces involved via a quality mutual training experience, while creating a fertile ground for mutual learning. The second is to show the world that the IAF is an advanced, strong and leading force and improve Israel’s international status as a result. We see each participant as an ambassador,” Lt. Col. Guy, Head of the Training Branch in the IAF Air Division, explained.

The exercise will last for two weeks.