Ovda air base in Israel’s Negev Desert hosted Exercise ‘Blue Flag’ in November, which attracted five nations and some 70 aircraft including F-35s for the first time.

THE FOURTH BIANNUAL ‘Blue Flag’ was held between November 3-14, 2019, at Ovda air base in the southern Negev region near the Jordanian border. It attracted the usual cocktail of exotic fighters including the local Israeli aircraft such as F-15s, F-16Is, and F-35s.

A rather battered-looking F-15A Baz (681) of 133 ‘Knights of the Twin Tail’ Squadron. Giovanni Colla

The US Air Force arrived with a dozen 480th Fighter Squadron F-16CMs from Spangdahlem; Hellenic Air Force F-16C Block 52+ jets came from from 335 Mira, six German Eurofighters from Taktische Luftwaff engeschwader 71 ‘Richthofen’, and six Italian F-35As from the 13° Gruppo, joined by six Eurofighter F-2000As from the 9°, 10°, 12°, and 18° Gruppos and a G550 conformal airborne early warning and control system (CAEW).

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