Israel’s second Blue Flag air combat exercise is wrapping up this week at Ovdat Air Force Base, Northwest of Eilat. The exercise saw USAF F-15Cs, Polish and Greek Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds, along with front-line Israeli F-16Is, F-15C/Ds take on Israel’s famous “Flying Dragon” aggressor squadron in the air and on the ground in a multi-faceted coalition scenario-based war game spread over two weeks.
Mirroring other complex coalition-centric war games, like America’s Red Flag (of which the IAF is a regular attendee) this scenario would see the coalition force take on a capable fictitious enemy state. Each mission was designed to build on the last in context and complexity in an attempt to push air crews to their limits.
Aside from those flying in the exercise, an undisclosed number of air arms, including multiple NATO affiliated air forces sent observers to sit in of briefs and debriefs and to take lessons learned from the unique exercise back home.
The exercise is one of the largest in the Israel Air Force’s history and clearly underlines that Israel is preparing more than ever for complex coalition air operations.
This is understandable considering the geopolitical complexity of region in which they live, one where Israel’s old enemies have increasingly common interests, as well as the fact that militaries around the globe have to rely on working together more than ever due to the cost—both politically and economically—of prosecuting a conflict alone.
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Photos via the Israeli Air Force