International air force drill takes off in Israel

 

 

AIR forces of eight countries began the international "Blue Flag" air combat exercise in Israel, the Israeli military has said.

The annual exercise is taking place at the Ovda Air Force Base in southern Israel, with the participation of air forces from the United States, Germany, Italy, Britain, France, India and Greece, Xinhua news agency quoted an Israeli military spokesperson as saying.

The exercise started on Sunday with an honorary flyover, led by the Commander of the Israeli Air Force Amikam Norkin in an F-15, alongside an Israeli "Adir", the Israeli version of F-35 Stealth jet.

The Chief of the German Air Force Ingo Gerhartz flew with them in an "Eagle Star" Eurofighter, which has been specially painted with Israeli and German flags.

The 12-day drill will simulate air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, advanced surface-to-air missiles threats, and various operational scenarios in enemy territory, the Israeli military said.

The goal is "to strengthen strategic international cooperation through shared learning about the integration of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft in complex operational scenarios, with a focus on broadening and enhancing the operational capabilities," the spokesperson said in a statement.

The exercise provides an opportunity to carry out "joint tactical flights against a variety of threats using advanced technology," the statement added.