Israel kicks off its largest ever multinational exercise

Israel kicked off its largest ever aerial exercise on October 17, after aircraft from the UK; France; Germany; Greece; Italy; India and the US arrived at Ovda Air Base in Eilat to participate in Exercise Blue Flag 21.

Due to conclude on October 28, the biannual multinational exercise will be the first deployment of RAF fighters in Israel since the formation of the Israeli state in 1948. Other firsts to take place include the first-ever Dassault Mirage 2000 Squadron from the Indian Air Force and first ever Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace (AAE, French Air and Space Force) Dassault Rafale deployment to Israel. 

Rafale and F-16
An IAF-operated F-16I Soufa (Storm) turns on to Ovda's runway with a Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace Rafale in trail. Israeli Air Force/Tomer Aizik

Other platforms involved are Luftwaffe (German Air Force) Eurofighter EF-2000s; Hellenic Air Force F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcons; Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI, Italian Air Force) F-35A Lightning IIs and US Air Force (USAF) F-16C Block 50s, along with Israeli Air Force (IAF)-operated F-16I Soufas (Storms); F-15I Ra’ams (Thunders) and F-35I Adirs (Mighty Ones).

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