Fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft from Israel, Germany, Italy, India, France, the UK, the US, and Greece kicked off Israel’s biennial Blue Flag exercise on October 17.
The exercise is designed to showcase coalition interoperability and strength while improving multinational partnerships.
This is the fifth time the Israeli Air Force has hosted the exercise since it first began in 2013, and it’s the second time US fighters from Spangdahlem air base have participated. Germany will also be represented with six Eurofighters, including one specially painted for the event and dubbed the Eagle Star.
More than 60 jets, as well as a thousand soldiers, are expected to take part in the exercise, which will be taking place at the Uvda air base in the Negev desert.
“The particular challenge of the Blue Flag exercise is to achieve common mission goals within a very short time under unfamiliar climatic and geographical conditions. The interaction with participants outside of NATO is particularly exciting, as we all have to find suitable procedures together. I am pleased that my first exercise as a contingent leader enjoys such a great international reputation,” German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Niko Biedermann, who is leading the German contingent during the drill, said.
“The Israeli Defense Forces and Air Force have been amazing hosts,” said US Air Force Lt. Col. Shaun Loomis, 480th Fighter Squadron commander. “We have been preparing and planning with our multinational partners for what will be an operationally valuable exercise.”
The two-week exercise will focus on boosting Israel’s overall defensive capabilities in the region.
“This biennial training event is essential to building and maintaining defensive interoperability and ensuring a combined tactical edge,” Loomis said. “Having experienced this exercise in 2019, we are looking forward to again exercising military cooperation and building new capabilities with our partners.”
Blue Flag 21 is slated to end on October 28.