The Israel Air Force is hosting its first international air drill in the South, where some 60 fighter jets from the air forces of the US, Italy and Greece are training together with Israeli jets, the IDF said on Monday.

The Blue Flag drill is the first and largest of its kind carried out by the IAF, said a senior air force source on Monday, adding that Israel plans to hold such an exercise every two years.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Modeled on the US Air Force’s Annual Red Flag exercise, Israel’s Blue Flag drill will see squadrons train north of Eilat in desert-based air combat. The exercise includes air-to-air and air-to-surface simulated missions.

“The drill required many preparations by air and ground crews, long before the foreign air forces landed in Israel,” the source said. Previous meetings with foreign air forces were held to set “the rules of the game for the exercise,” he said.

Training with other air forces enables all participants to share operational capabilities and experience; train in unfamiliar terrain; and practice long-range flying, the source said.

The US sent F-15 fighter jets and Greece and Italy sent F-16 and AMX ground-attack aircraft.

During the exercise, the IAF is employing a new system for the first time that stores data from all planes taking part, and processes it to investigate how pilots performed.

“In recent years, there has been a significant improvement in intelligence and the precision of weapons in the IAF’s possession, which resulted in an enlargement in the number of targets and missions the force is required to engage,” the source said.

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