TEL AVIV – The Israeli Air Force on Sunday launched its largest ever aerial drill with air forces involving more than 1,000 people from nine other countries, the army announced.
The Blue Flag drill included combat pilots, crews, fighter jets, and refueling aircraft from India, the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Italy and Germany and an unidentified eighth country.
“The participating nations arrived in Israel in their own aircraft and will practice different situations and scenarios,” the IDF said.
It added that the goal of the drill is to improve participants’ technical ability and coordination as well as to bolster “diplomatic cooperation between the countries.”
It will mark the first time that India is taking part in the 11-day drill, with Delhi dispatching a C-130J transport plane. In addition, this year’s drill will include Germany, France and Italy for the first time since its inception in 2013.
The exercise is being held out of the Israeli Air Force’s Ovda base, north of Eilat.
The military stressed that Blue Flag is not connected to any particular security situation and that civilians need not be alarmed by the increased aerial activity.