Friday, September 2, 2016

Israeli pilots return home after flying alongside Pakistan, UAE in U.S. drill

Israeli Air Force planes returned from the USA this week after participating in the "Red Flag", considered to be the biggest and best war simulation exercises in the world, with countries like Pakistan and the UAE with whom Israel does not have diplomatic relations.

According to the United States Air Force, several countries participated in the recently concluded "Red Flag" advanced combat training exercise, considered to be one of the biggest and the best war simulation exercise in the world.

The united nature of the drills meant that Israeli pilots conducted operations along Pakistani and UAE pilots for the first time, overcoming tense relations between the Middle Eastern countries. They practice intercepting other aircraft, attacking targets, rescuing pilots, intelligence gathering, cyber attacks and engaging in aerial activity under the ostensible threat of ground-to-air missiles. He declined to say whether the exercise included training in handling Russian S-300 anti-aircraft batteries, which Russia is supplying to Iran. The Spanish Air Force also took part in this year's exercise.

A senior IAF official told Chanel 2 News that "the Americans are excellent pilots, it's clear they know how to fly and fight". "We have no say in the matter", he said.

The American "Red Flag" squadron acts as the enemy side.

"The Red Flag exercise is a high quality exercise", an Israeli army spokesperson said.

Previous year the air forces of the US, Israel, Singapore and Jordan participated in the Red Flag exercise.

The exercise included IAF F-16I "Sufa" (Heb: Storm) aircraft, and for the first time Boeing 707 refueling aircraft.

Israel does not have official diplomatic ties with either Pakistan or the UAE.

"Flying outside of Israel is very different from flying out of Ramat David", the IAF official said, referring to an air base in northern Israel.

Israel Air Force F-16 fighter jets and a refueling plane fly in formation over Nevada during the United States Air Force's Red Flag exercise in August. "And the strategic benefits are not always direct; they can also be roundabout".

Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Israel were also invited to participate in the exercise.

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