AN IAF F-15 takes off from the Uvda Air Force Base in southern Israel..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel and France held their first joint air exercise on the island of Corsica over the past two weeks.
The exercise, which was held at the Solenzara Air Base from October 31 to November 11, saw Israeli F-15s fly alongside French Rafale jets.
Israel regularly holds air exercises in Greece, Italy and the United States. But according to French media, one of the objectives of the exercise was to train Israeli fighter pilots in a different environment than they are used to.
During the two-week exercise, code-named “White Stripes,” the Israeli jets are said to have flown two to three sorties per day, sometimes accompanied by French jets.
The exercise was initially planned several years ago, but it had been postponed several times.
In 2013, then-Brig.-Gen. Amikam Norkin, Israel Air Force chief of operations, visited France where he is said to have discussed future joint exercises between the two countries, stating that “France is a leading European country and cooperation between the air forces not only has a great influence on the two militaries but on the relationship between the two nations.”
According to the IDF’s website, Norkin invited the French Air Force to train in Israel, and IAF pilots were reported to have been invited to fly in France.
Cooperation between Israel and France has expanded in recent years, with the two countries holding several joint exercises, including one simulating a naval attack on Israel.