April 4, 2012 (by F-16.net) - For the first time the Polish Air Force conducted a combat training exercise with the Israeli Air Force as Israel was in the midst of a new surge of rocket fire directed at the South of the country.
PolAF F-16C block 52 #4065 is parked on the tarmac at Ovda AFB during a joint exercise with the IDFAF in March of 2012. [Photo by Yissachar Ruas]
The exercise took place at Ovda AFB
, which is considered to be out of range of Hamas fire, the goings on were definitely in the background of this exercise and was therefore the exercise was kept a very low profile from the the press.
The weather during the exercise was typical desert weather with much haze, low visibility and the occasional sandstorm all of which must have been very different from what the Polish AF is normally used to.
The primary purpose of this exercise is to provide adequate training resources for Poland
during the harsh winter months in Europe as a relatively comfortable environment due to the lesser restrictions on low level flying which exist in Israel
compared to Europe. The IDFAF in return looks for areas that it may hopefully expand for training during the summer months as a long range dissimilar destination as part of its regular training program, exercises such as that have taken place in Sardinia Italy
and Romania among other countries in recent years.
The purpose of these exercise in addition to the normal dissimilar training it provides for both sides, also serves towards strengthening Israel's relationship along with its military ties with various countries in Europe in general and NATO
in particular which include Italy, Czech Republic, Romania and most recently Poland and Greece
The Polish Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Lech Majewski was on hand as well, in an interview to Israel Air Force Website he noted how impressed the Poles were with the Israeli's high level of flying and advanced platforms such as the F-15 and F-16 which the Polish flew with and against.
The exercise comprised of 3 Israeli Squadrons and components of 2 Polish Squadrons, among the Israeli squadrons was the Flying Dragon Squadron which is the Israeli equivalent to the American "Top Gun" squadron which trains the air force in advanced dogfighting tactics and whose pilots are known for being the best aviators in the Air Force.
Israeli officials emphasized the fact that the exercises are conducted with joint teams of F-15s and F- 16s so the Polish and Israelis are fighting together and not against each other.
The Israeli Air Force is currently gearing up for a multinational exercise planned to take place in Israel during 2013 with emphasis on trying to host more European countries.