International "Blue Flag" air combat exercise commences in Israel

Jerusalem: Air forces of 8 countries commenced the international "Blue Flag" air combat exercise in Israel, the Israeli military has said.  The annual exercise is occurring 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, according to reports. The twelve-days 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 exercise began 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 goal is "to strengthen strategic international cooperation through shared learning about the integration of fourth and 5th-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.

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