WATCH: Bi-annual Blue Flag air drill to kick off on Sunday

F-35 stealth fighters to participate for the first time.

Blue Flag 2019 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The fourth bi-annual Blue Flag aerial exercise hosted by the IAF will begin on Sunday and will see F-35 stealth fighter jets taking part for the first time.
More than 1,000 air crews, and technical and administrative personnel from allied Western air forces will take part in the drill, which last until Thursday, November 14 at the Uvda Air Force base north of Eilat.
The US, Greece, Germany and Italy have already sent air crews to Israel, and other countries will be sending smaller teams to observe the drill.
“The cooperation will enable high-quality international training, mutual learning, and development of flight techniques, and after action review techniques will offer an opportunity to strengthen relations between countries,” the IAF said in a statement.
The exercise which was last carried out in November 2017, with seven foreign air forces taking part.
As part of the exercise, dozens of flights are due to be carried out in which the [Israeli] Air Force, along with the other air forces, will simulate air-to-air combat and air-to-ground combat, dealing with the threat of advanced surface-to-air missiles and scenarios of combat in enemy territory,” the statement continued. “This deployment provides an opportunity to conduct joint tactical flights against a variety of threats, using advanced technology.”
Uvda airbase hosts squadrons training in the Negev Desert and has an advanced training center, which trains aircrew in numerous exercises.
It is also the base of the “Flying Dragon,” or “Red” Squadron, which plays the role of enemy aircraft in exercises and ground teams which operate enemy ground targets, such as missile launchers and radars, and infantry soldiers who act as terrorists during these training scenarios.
According to the IAF, “the exercise is of paramount strategic importance and will have a significant impact on the Israeli Air Force, the IDF and the State of Israel. The IAF is practicing and will continue to practice in collaboration with foreign air forces to maintain its competence and readiness, to strengthen the ties and interests between the forces and to encourage and strengthen the joint learning between the forces.”