While the media and political sphere is abuzz with news on a potential attack on Iran's nuclear development facilities, the Israel Air Force continues conducting comprehensive drills on long-range attacks.
The last drill of this sort took place last week at the NATO base in Italy, in which six different types of air force squadrons participated. The drill was widely covered on websites around the world that specialize in aviation.
IAF drill – Oct 2011
The drill included most of the aviation components that are likely to take part in future long-range attacking missions: combat squadrons, aerial refueling and air monitoring stations.
That Sunday, several IAF planes arrived at the Italian Decimomannu air base on the Sardinia island of Italy. This base is considered to be one of NATO's training bases. The advanced investigative system that exists at the base allows fighter jets of various air forces to conduct military air-drills, following which they can assess and analyze the performance of various pilots. In the past few years, the IAF has increasingly carried out drills at the Decimomannu air base, especially since it stopped flying in Turkey's air space due to recent diplomatic tensions between the two states.
Israel's fighter jets participated in air combat drills against the Eurofighter planes of the Italian air force, Tornado planes of the German air force (Luftwaffe) and F-16 planes of the Dutch air force.
Normally, long-range drills last two weeks, but the IAF left this drill after five days, and by the weekend all the IAF planes had returned to their air bases in Israel.
The IAF's early departure ignited the spreading of conspiracy theories which suggested Israel was heading into a possible mission, but according to a senior IAF official, the departure was not sudden and spontaneous, rather a short visit planned from the start, due to time constraints of the Italian and Israeli air forces.
קראו כתבה זו בעברית: חיל האוויר תירגל תקיפה לטווח ארוך
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