The United States Air Force released the first video footage over the weekend from Red Flag, an aerial combat training exercise in Nevada which this year has the participation of the air forces of Israel, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Spain, in addition to the United States.
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The video, which was shot early last week at the beginning of the exercise, shows Pakistani, Spanish and American warplanes taking off from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Although this is the first official footage of the exercise, the video does not show Israeli combat aircraft.
In addition, however, photographers and aviation buffs have shot footage of Israel Air Force planes in the skies of Nevada, including the Ram, an aerial refueling plane. Red Flag also has the involvement from the Israel Air Force of four squadrons of F-16I fighter aircraft, known in Hebrew as Sufa. The aerial combat exercise is expected to wrap up on August 26.
This is the second time in a row that the Israel Air Force is taking part in the exercise, which simulates coordinated combat carried out by several countries. The airplane crews are divided into Red Forces and Blue Forces which engage in combat against one another. Last year's exercise included the air forces of the United States, Israel, Singapore and Jordan. With regard to last year's exercises, it was reported that Israeli planes provided midair refueling of Jordanian aircraft en route to the United States.
At the end of the last year's Red Flag exercise, an air force officer called the event the best and broadest war simulation in the world. It included the interception of aircraft, attacks on targets, pilot rescue operations and simulation of aerial operations under the threat from ground-to-air missile batteries.