U.S. to Join Largest Aerial Drill in Israel's History, Along With Italy, Greece

Israel Air Force hopes to turn the drill into a tradition that other nations will seek to take part in in the future, official says.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israel will hold the largest international aerial exercise in its history in two weeks, when its air force will be joined by U.S., Italian, and Greek aircraft for an wide-scoped training exercise dubbed “Blue Flag.”

The comprehensive air drill will be staged from the Ovda air base in southern Israel, and will include over one hundred combat aircraft.

Seven Israeli combat squadrons will take part in the drill: Two F-15 squadrons based at Tel Nof, the “Spearhead” and the “Knights of the Twin Tails” squadrons, as well as two F-16 squadrons based at Ramat David air base, the “Knights of the North” and the “First Jet” squadrons.

They will be joined by two F-16 squadrons from the Ramon air base, and two from the Hatzerim base.

The Israel Air Force is making widespread preparations for the event; this week, training for the exercise will begin, which is set to include four days of flight drills that will focus on aerial combat and communicating in English. “The ‘Blue Flag’ drills are very high level exercise, and we need to conduct them in English, which is something we aren’t used to,” the Israel Air Force website quoted one officer in charge of the pre-drill training for the "Knights of the Orange Tail" Squadron based at Hazerim.

An official with knowledge of the upcoming exercise said that it will be of a scope never before seen in Israel, due to its unique character, and the amount of participants taking part. According to him, Israel Air Force hopes to turn the drill into a tradition that other nations will seek to take part in in the future.

An F-15 fighter aircraft flies over the Grand Canyon en route to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, February 7, 2008.Credit: Reuters / U.S. Air Force

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