U.S. Among Seven Nations to Send Warplanes to Israel’s Largest-Ever Air Exercise

An Israeli F-15 Eagle fighter jet takes off from an Israeli Air Force Base on November 19, 2012. European Union foreign ministers called for an 'immediate' halt to hostilities between Gaza and Israel as a new strike in a sixth day of violence pushed the toll in Gaza to over …
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty

Defense News reports:  TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israeli Air Force will host flying forces from seven nations later this year in the largest and most complex air exercise in its history.

Nearly 100 aircraft and several hundreds of air warriors and support crews from the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India and Italy will converge here in the autumn for Blue Flag, a biennial, two-week drill aimed at honing the type of planning, targeting and coordinated command and control demanded by coalitions operating in high-threat theaters.

“It will be a massive exercise; the biggest ever for the IAF. Seven nations plus Israel,” said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, the Israeli Air Force’s chief of international affairs. Of the seven confirmed participants, four have never before actively participated in Blue Flag, which began in 2013 and continued in 2015 as a four-way exercise involving Israel, the U.S., Greece and Poland. This year, however, four new nations are participating, along with officers and attaches from nearly 40 countries who are expected to attend as observers.

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