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.
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
“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
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.