The IDF and the US air forces on Sunday started the joint “Red Flag” exercise.
The joint drill is being hosted at the US Air Force Base in Nellis, Nevada, said an IDF statement.
It is slated to run for approximately two weeks and is expected to include simulations for different kinds of operations: from attacks on long-range distance targets to achieving aerial superiority in the aerial battle space, to complex joint attack operations by a mix of aircraft, to providing defense and support to land-based units, to interception of invading enemy aircraft, to low-altitude flying and attacks in unfamiliar areas which are filled with anti-aircraft defense, according to the IDF.
Next, the aircraft will carry out other complex tasks such as joint midair refueling, both with Israeli aircraft refueling American fighter jets, and Israeli F-35 attack aircraft getting refueled using American KC135 refueling aircraft.
Moreover, the IDF said that for the first time, seven Israeli F-35 two Ram (the Boeing 707) aircraft will participate in the exercise flying over US airspace.
Red Flag takes place only days after US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Israel and only about two months after the joint Israeli-US “Juniper Oak” exercise, the largest joint drill ever held including the IDF and US Central Command (Centcom).
The "Juniper Oak" joint drills were viewed by many as a not-so-veiled threat to Iran in the ongoing nuclear standoff, as well as to other adversaries.
At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the drill, "manifests the unbreakable strategic partnership between Israel and the US and constitutes another stage in building Israel's military power."
"Israel will always defend herself, but obviously praises the powerful cooperation with our great ally," added the prime minister.
That exercise involved thousands of forces, a dozen ships, significant numbers of attack and intelligence collection drones and 142 aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, and ran for a full week.
Beyond B-52 bombers, the US aircraft included F-35s, F-15s, F-16s and F-18s.