Cobra Warrior kicks off in the UK with Israeli jets

The 20 days multi-national drill marks the first time IAF jets fly in the UK.

By
September 5, 2019 13:11
2 minute read.
Israel Air Force F15

Israel Air Force F15. (photo credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM)

Israeli fighter jets touched down at Waddington Air Force Base in the United Kingdom to take part in a high-intensity tactical drill with aircraft from other nations.

The jets joined 50 aircraft of various types from the German, Italian and American air forces for the 20-day Cobra Warrior exercise.

The aircraft deployed from Tel Nof to RAF Waddington consist of 3 F-15 “C” Baz and 4 F-15 “D” Baz fighters as well as a KC-707 Re’em tanker and C-130J Hercules.

“We are happy and proud to participate in the Cobra Warrior exercise. This is the first time IAF fighter aircraft are deployed to and flying in Britain,” said Brig.-Gen. Amnon Ein-Dar, head of the IAF Air Division. “The deployment will help improve IAF readiness and capability. We view this exercise as the highest standard of training [and] an excellent opportunity for mutual learning and bolstering cooperation between partners.”

Formerly named Exercise CQWI (Combined Qualified Weapons Instructor), the annual Cobra Warrior is the RAF’s largest collective-training exercise.

The multinational exercise is set to drill the tactical leadership skills of aircrew and supporting elements within a complex air environment. Personnel from all countries will develop, plan and practice tactics, techniques and procedures during various scenarios.

The drill, which is the culmination of the RAF’s advanced Qualified Weapons Instructor course, has seen the participation of several foreign air forces in the past, including Saudi Arabia in 2015, Germany in 2016 and Italy in 2018.

With growing military ties between the two countries, a group of Israeli combat pilots took part in a joint training seminar with RAF Typhoon pilots last year, and in 2017, former RAF chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier met with IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin and visited several IAF bases.

“This is a significant rise compared to previous years, and we’re grateful for that. We have performed mutual visits of aircrew members from both countries’ fighter divisions as well as joint training with the participation of IAF and RAF Search and Rescue Squadrons. Alongside these, we maintain daily coordination of their flights in Israel’s skies, and we are happy to provide them with a secondary base if necessary,” a senior IAF officer was quoted by the military as saying at the time. “Both forces foresee a productive future and are interested in deepening this relationship. The RAF is a global air force, and holding mutual exercises and learning from them is important.”

Defense cooperation between Israel and Britain has been increasing over recent years, with Israel being the third-largest arms provider for Britain.


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