On Sunday, November 24, the Israel Air Force launched the “Blue Flag” training exercise – an international air force exercise with participation by the US, Italian and Greek air forces.
The large-scale international exercise launched at the Ovda airbase in southern Israel is a part of the IAF’s elite training program and will continue through Thursday, Nov. 28. The goal of the exercise is to improve Israel’s general air defense capabilities while learning together and cooperating with global allies.
The exercise involves workshops that simulate enemy forces as well as training missions to identify anti-aircraft missiles. The exercise showcases the Israeli Air Force’s aerial capabilities. Just last month, the IAF conducted a special long-range flight exercise in which squadrons practiced refueling planes in midair, testing the IAF’s ability to fly exceptionally long distances.
“Blue Flag” has been in the works for over a year, and the IAF had conducted two training flights a day during the past six months in anticipation of the exercise, in addition to conducting a preparatory workshop earlier this year which had aerial teams train for flights conducted entirely in English.
US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, that was present at the opening of the exercise, said: “Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood. We need the best equipped, best trained forces as possible to protect our people and our security,” he said. “We also need allies and we have great allies here…all training together and reinforcing a partnership that gets stronger with each passing year.”