The “Blue-Flag” international aerial combat training exercise is being held for the first time in the IAF history. For two intensive weeks the Greek, Italian and US air forces are flying complex and intensive combat scenarios with Israeli combat divisions
Over the past two weeks, Greek, Italian and US fighter jets have been landing in Ovda Airbase as part of a broad exercise with IAF combat divisions. This is the first time a wide and intricate exercise such as the “Blue Flag” is being conducted in Israel and it demands much preparation from the Israeli Air Force, which has been working on the project for months.
This week is the most important week of the exercise, in which the four air forces practice joint flights and complex battle scenarios: the Israeli F-16C/D, F-16I and F-15C/D aircrafts alongside the foreign fighter jets.
“The Americans brought the F-15E, one of the best F-15 aircrafts in the world. The Italians came with the AMX and Tornado aircrafts and the Greeks brought a very modern F-16 aircraft”, explained Lieutenant colonel Ziv, commander of the “Flying Dragon” squadron, which leads the “Red” force in the Drill, and is in charge of simulating the aerial and ground enemy. “During this exercise, a mixed group of air forces has a mission and they need to fly together in one big formation in order to execute it”.
The participants from the various countries landed in Israel two weeks ago. Last week, they explored the Israeli airspace through introductory flights and also practiced a few tactical flights. In addition to the aerial introduction, the participants got to know each other on ground at a special event organized in their honor, attended by the airbase commander, Colonel A’.
Today at the Blue Flag: Delegates from 22 Countries
22 delegates from all over the world met at Ovda Airbase today to watch the international exercise. Among the guests were representatives from Canada, Britain, Germany and also the commander of the Bulgarian Air Force. Based on their impression they will decide whether or not to participate in future exercises.
“One of our top goals is for foreign air forces to know that practicing in Israel is very effective”, said Lieutenant colonel Ziv. “We want them to see the awesome power of the IAF reflected in the organization of the exercise and understand the professionalism and strength of our force”.
IAF commander, Major General Amir Eshel, who arrived earlier this week at the southern Ovda Airbase to witness the progress of the exercise and joined a flight with the “Blue” forces.