Amid tensions with Iran, IAF squadrons carried out exercises this week to practice long-range missions.

Squadrons carried out midair refueling in the course of the advanced training, testing the capabilities of fighter jets to operate far from Israel.

IAF plane refuels midflight during long range
 mission drill (Courtesy IDF)

“When one mentions that ‘all options are on the table,’ it’s clear that military operations are also being talked about,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said on Thursday.

“The air force, which is the IDF’s long arm, is responsible for realizing this option if necessary, and to that end, squadrons are practicing and strengthening the full range of their abilities, including long-range flights,” the IDF added.

The preparations are aimed at giving the IAF the ability to carry out both pinpoint and broad, long-range missions.

The IDF added that such training has been occurring on a regular basis in recent years, and tests all aspects of long-distance sorties: planning in the air force’s Operations Department, the flight itself and the abilities of the IAF’s command and control center to manage the missions.

An IAF source said that the challenges in this type of mission include dealing with unfamiliar weather conditions and terrain, as well as coping with various potential threats along the way to the targets.

Pilots who took part in the exercise said the experience was prolonged and demanded powers of concentration for several hours, as well as special physical preparations that included eating the right diet and getting enough rest.

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