"BLUE FLAG" Exercise [Israeli F-35i]

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spazsinbad

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Unread post01 Nov 2019, 10:45

"BLUE FLAG" Exercise
01 Nov 2019 The IAF Site

"Between the dates of November 3rd until November 14th, the "BLUE FLAG" exercise will take place at "Uvda" Air Force Base in Southern Israel. This exercise is the first international "Fifth Generation” exercise taking place in Israel involving the F-35 aircraft.

The Blue Flag exercise is of paramount strategic importance and will have a significant impact on the Air Force, the IDF and the State of Israel as a whole. The exercise will include over a thousand air crew, technical and administrative personnel from different air forces.

This year, several countries will take part in the exercise, including: Germany, Italy, Greece and the United States. Air crews and pilots, including the aircraft of the participating countries will arrive in Israel and simulate various scenarios. The cooperation will enable high-quality international training, mutual learning and study of flight techniques, providing an opportunity to strengthen relations between the participating countries.

As part of the exercise, dozens of aircraft, both international and Israeli, will be deployed and will practice air-to-air and air-to-ground combat scenarios, dealing with advanced SAM threats as well as enemy combat scenarios. This deployment provides an opportunity for joint flights across a wide range of threat scenarios combined with advanced technology.

The Air Force trains and will continue to train in cooperation with foreign air forces to maintain their competence and readiness, to strengthen the ties and interests between the forces and to encourage and strengthen the joint learning between the forces."

Source: https://www.iaf.org.il/9081-51540-en/IAF.aspx
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Unread post15 Nov 2019, 17:27

The "Blue Flag" exercise, held in Uvda AFB, has ended. Aircrews from five countries, 70 aircraft and approximately 1,000 participants took part in the fighter exercise, held once every two years. This iteration was the first to include the participation of fifth-generation aircraft, including the "Adir" (F-35I).

The countries which arrived to train are Germany, with the Eurofighter Typhoon; Italy with the F-35, Eurofighters and Gulfstream G-550; and Greece and the United States with the F-16. The Israeli participants include the "Baz" (F-15), the "Sufa" (F-16I) and the "Adir"...
Source: https://www.iaf.org.il/9082-51763-en/IAF.aspx


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Unread post15 Nov 2019, 21:43

"The F-35 aircraft brings a significant advantage to the theatre, which allows the other aircraft to carry on with their missions while handling oncoming threats".

When planning an "Adir" exercise program, scenarios must be adjusted according to certain missions while also taking other aircraft with different missions into consideration. "This adjustment is complex", explained Col. A'. "We made it so aircraft from different generations can train in parallel, with each of them having targets of their own".

Uvda AFB is home to several HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelters) in which the aircraft are parked. Seeing as the "Adir" jet is considerably tall, it does not fit into a standard HAS. "We had to saw off some of the HAS' concrete in order to properly fit the 'Adir' in", explained Maj. Roy, Commander of Uvda's Construction Unit. "This means that Uvda is now capable of housing the 'Adir'. Not all IAF airbases are capable of doing so, and this action is of great significance".
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Unread post16 Nov 2019, 02:34

Jordanian F-16 may also have taken part.

https://theaviationist.com/2019/11/15/t ... -35i-adir/
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Unread post16 Nov 2019, 13:26

During the exrecise General David Goldfein came to Israel as aguest of General Norkin, they both flew IAF F-15D and visited IAF 140FS F-35i crew
https://twitter.com/YehoshuaYosi/status ... 3705844736
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Goldfein Norkin F-35i 140FS.jpg
The two air forces chiefs, Adir 916 and IAF 140FS air crew (credit: IAF)
F-35i Adir 928.jpg
The last Adir to arrive Israel is kicking already (credit: IAF)
USAF F-16CJ ground crew.jpg
USAF 480FS ground crew chief cleaning the intake of F-16CJ Wild Weasel (credit: Shay Levy)
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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 10:26

How much will it get good better be if the F-35 joined the Link-16 network? 8)
https://www.jns.org/israels-blue-flag-i ... d-to-date/
Israel’s Blue Flag international air-force drill was ‘most advanced’ to date
The introduction of the F-35 stealth aircraft to joint training helped the IAF integrate with other air forces, since the foreign aircraft all had NATO’s Link 16 communications system installed onboard—a system the IAF has not previously had.
(November 20, 2019 / JNS) Israel completed its fourth international air exercise in southern Israel, Blue Flag 2019, earlier this month—a drill that planners have described as being the most advanced of its kind to date.

Towards the end of the exercise, held from Nov. 3 to Nov. 14 at Uvda Air Force Base, just north of Eilat, other jets from the Israel Air Force were busy striking Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip as rockets flew in the direction of Israeli cities.
Yet the air forces of the United States, Germany, Italy and Greece joined Israeli flight crews and completed the joint training as planned.

“In 2017, we called Blue Flag our biggest drill. Now, in 2019, we are describing this drill as being the most advanced,” Lt. Col. (res.) Tal Herman, head of the IAF’s Blue Flag management team, told JNS in the midst of the exercise.

“What makes it advanced is that, first of all, this is the first time that fifth generation aircraft—the Israeli F-35 and the Italian F-35—are taking part. We focused on integrating these planes and linking them up with fourth-generation planes, like F-15s and F-16s, and the German and Italian Eurofighters,” he explained.

“There are lots of flying computers, and they all have to talk to one another,” he added.

The introduction of the F-35 to the exercise helped make that task easier since the international aircraft all have NATO’s Link 16 communications system installed onboard—a system the IAF has not previously had until the arrival of the Israeli F-35, which comes with the system installed.

This means that for the first time, Israeli jets connected to the NATO Link 16 network.

“It has been very successful so far,” stated Herman. “We made major efforts to enable this connection. It is a breakthrough, and it could have operational dividends –if and when needed,” he said referring to the possibility that in future, Israeli F-35 jets would be able to work smoothly with NATO F-35s on joint missions if necessary.

Meanwhile, the IAF’s Eitam command and control aircraft flew with its Italian counterpart; both of these platforms were produced by Israel Aerospace Industries.

The drill consisted of a Red Team—Israeli jets playing the enemy—challenging the Blue Team in the air, as well as simulated missile batteries on the ground “targeting” the Blue Team.

Blue Flag featured fighter-jet transport planes on the Blue Team taking on Red Team aircraft, including F-16s, drones and a Patriot system simulating surface-to-air missiles.

“We wanted this to be advanced in the sense that the Red Team simulates assets that are relevant to the arena today, and not only the established threats from past,” said Herman. The Red Team also had F-35s as a result.

“We want the Red Team to be responsive and not come only with a prior game plan. This team has a controller, and he wants to win, so he challenges the Blue Team. But safety comes first. We didn’t come to defeat the Blue Force; we came to train it.”

‘More comfortable to cooperate’
Integrating the F-35 into such a drill is no easy task, as it’s an aircraft designed to be invisible to others. That also creates challenges for the after-flight review stage, when air crews sit down to watch recordings of their maneuvers played back to them showing the location of the various aircraft. To overcome that challenge, planners placed location and time-stamp pods on the F-35s so that they could take part in the post-flight reviews.

Otherwise, Herman said, “the plane won’t tell anyone where it was.”

Learning how to deal with fifth-generation stealth planes was a key aspect of the exercise. “How do I bring it down? We placed certain blocks on the plane for the drill to make it fair,” he said.

Until 2014, Herman was responsible for the IAF’s international cooperation with other air forces before joining civilian life. But he has come out of retirement twice to lead Blue Flag exercise: once in 2017 and again now for Blue Flag 2019.

In a statement, the IAF said that “the goal of the exercise is to simulate extreme war and coalition flight scenarios in the most realistic manner. The exercise is of high strategic importance and has a significant influence on the international strategic plans of the State of Israel.”

Asked to list the advantages of such a drill, Herman said, “The first is that it brings people from different air forces together. On the day that a real order might come, it makes it more comfortable to cooperate. We have been together, sitting in the same briefing rooms. We are not strangers. Diplomatically, every picture of a foreign air force flying with the IAF is good for Israel.”

On the professional-technical level, the drill challenges the foreign air crews by removing them from their comfort zone and getting them to fly in unfamiliar spaces. “They have to fly together with platforms they do not know, against tactics that are not their home court tactics. Some of us have to fly in a different language. Flying in English is a different difficulty level,” said Herman.

Pilots on their home turf know where to land if they run into technical problems. Not so when training abroad.

“The professional tension is high. This is similar to what could happen in a real emergency,” explained Herman. “They could get taken out of their comfort zone, and they don’t wake up in a familiar bed. Everyone wants good results; everyone wants to perform. These aspects mean there is a big added value for training the individual.”

In 2019, the IAF took a part in a number of training exercises in Israel and abroad, including joint drills in Greece, Cyprus, and Britain.
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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 11:11

As per your post above the F-35 is in the LINK-16 network:
"...The introduction of the F-35 to the exercise helped make that task easier since the international aircraft all have NATO’s Link 16 communications system installed onboard—a system the IAF has not previously had until the arrival of the Israeli F-35, which comes with the system installed. This means that for the first time, Israeli jets connected to the NATO Link 16 network...."
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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 12:07

Are they still looking for the f-16 engine they 'lost' ? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :bang: Does anyone know if it ever turned up?

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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 12:15

optimist wrote:Image


Perhaps I'm "a bit" too sadistic but everytime I see that photo I can only imagine if someone (pilot for example) decided to start the engine in that precise moment :twisted:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 12:34

Man sucked into A-6 Intruder jet engine intake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jxcSY1AwrM

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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 14:40

ricnunes wrote:
optimist wrote:Image


Perhaps I'm "a bit" too sadistic but everytime I see that photo I can only imagine if someone (pilot for example) decided to start the engine in that precise moment :twisted:


Hopeful they are using some form of "Lock out, tag out" under the control of the maintainer.
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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 17:28

notkent wrote:
ricnunes wrote:
optimist wrote:[img]<span%20class="skimlinks-unlinked">http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=31823&t=1</span>[/img]


Perhaps I'm "a bit" too sadistic but everytime I see that photo I can only imagine if someone (pilot for example) decided to start the engine in that precise moment :twisted:


Hopeful they are using some form of "Lock out, tag out" under the control of the maintainer.


For those unfamiliar with fighter operations, jumping the intake to inspect the inlet duct and the front end of the engine for foreign object damage is performed by maintenance after every flight as part of the recovery inspection. And you try to do it quickly before the residual heat of the engine makes the inlet unbearably hot.

The F-15 inlet is wide open, but is really high off the ground. The F-16 isn’t bad, but you have to maneuver around the center strut. Both the -220 and -229 engine have the center probe that will poke you if you are not careful. The F-22 inlet is uphill and slippery going in over the hump, but fun sliding down on your way out after the inspection is complete. I never had the opportunity to crawl the F-35 inlet. Since this is a confined space, there should be an outside observer to ensure safety.
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Unread post22 Nov 2019, 17:29

spazsinbad wrote:Man sucked into A-6 Intruder jet engine intake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jxcSY1AwrM


That video is a "classic" indeed!


notkent wrote:Hopeful they are using some form of "Lock out, tag out" under the control of the maintainer.


That would probably be an excellent idea (in case it or any other similar measure isn't implemented yet).
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post25 Nov 2019, 15:25

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at these exercises.

I do think Israel's F-35's will see the type's first air to air combat, just as they were the first to fly combat missions with it. And further, I think that air to air will occur while ingressing/egressing into Iran for a strike on their nuclear facilities. Just imagine the state of the art F-35 vs. 1970's F-14's, lol. Or even better, vs 1950's/60's tech F-4 Phantom's and F-5's.

With the revelation another squadron of F-35's being deployed in the vicinity of Iran, American F-35's may be in the mix as well. One good part in all that: The Pentagon certainly seems confident in its capabilities, given the proximity of the deployment to Iran.
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Unread post25 Dec 2019, 02:45

From AirForces Monthly 2020 January.
Red Air's F-35 BVR missile attack, even if it was a hit, was not a hit!! :roll: (!?) :shock:
What awful Rules Of Engagement!? :doh: (Unreasonable!! :bang: )
Blue Flag 2019 Air battles over Ovda
A lthough only established in 2013, the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF’s) biennial Blue Flag is recognised as one of the most important international events of its kind – for three crucial reasons: first, the IAF boasts impressive operational capabilities and exposes its units to realistic exercises as part of an aggressive training philosophy. Second, it’s staged in an area perfect for air operations – the Negev desert is not only almost uninhabited, but it’s possible to fly at all altitudes and speeds. It also includes well-equipped ranges. Finally, as the IAF’s most advanced air exercise, Blue Flag features the air arm’s best units – including 115 ‘Flying Dragon’ Squadron, specialised in the Red Air mission – plus visitors from some of the most advanced Western air forces. The 2019 manoeuvres, held as usual at Ovda Air Base, included contingents from Germany, Greece, Italy and the United States. The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) deployed its 480th Fighter Squadron (FS), from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, operating the F-16CM Block 50 in the ‘Wild Weasel’ role. The German Luftwaffe sent a detachment from Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 71 (TaktLwG 71) ‘Richthofen,’ flying the Eurofighter. The Hellenic Air Force selected its 335 Mira from Araxos air base, operating Greece’s most advanced Fighting Falcon version – the F-16C/D Block 52M (the local designation for the Block 52+ Advanced). However, the most numerous foreign contingent was from the Italian Air Force, which deployed six F-35As from the 32° Stormo, six F-2000A Typhoons from a multi-wing team headed by the 4° Stormo, and one of 14° Stormo’s E-550As – the Italian designation for the G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) aircraft. Tal Herman, chief of the Blue Flag management team, is a former IAF lieutenant colonel and today a reservist. He outlined the most significant aspect of the 2019 exercise: “This is the first time in which Israeli F-35s have taken part in an international exercise, and they are flying using the Link 16 data link system in conjunction with NATO aircraft.” The fifthgeneration aircraft also features the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) but it’s not known if the Israeli and Italian jets used this in the exercise to exchange additional data more securely. Another ‘first’ for this fourth iteration of Blue Flag was the deployment of Israeli F-35s at a base other than their home station of Nevatim. Interestingly, it had been necessary to cut away some of the concrete from around the entrances of Ovda’s shelters to accommodate the F-35.

Israeli Red Air
The role of 115 Squadron, and of the local ground control intercept (GCI) squadron, was fundamental: these units form the IAF’s Advanced Training Center (ATC), and provided the training activities and adjusted the level of difficulty according to the participants. They also selected the degree of aggressiveness for Red Air. Among the rules of engagement, it’s notable that a ‘kill’ by an F-35 using beyond-visual-range (BVR) radar-guided missiles was not considered valid. Red Air and Blue Air assets ‘killed’ during missions could regenerate, re-entering the combat under specific rules. On the other hand, Blue aircraft assigned to offensive tasks had to return to Ovda once ‘killed.’ The scenarios were planned together with the IAF’s 133 Squadron, flying the F-15 Baz, which was the lead unit. Around Ovda are various ranges and training areas, dedicated to live weapons delivery, supersonic flight at high altitude, or verylow-level flight. These training areas have electronic warfare systems, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), plus real and simulated targets. Some targets comprise inflatable ‘shapes’ that accurately simulate real-world systems.
The IAF’s 115 Squadron plays a critical role in the exercise, not only because its pilots are instructors specialised in the aggressor mission, but also because these aviators adopt an ‘active’ philosophy during operations. They don’t carry out their role passively, but develop their own plans to best counter the Blue forces, reacting to their activity, and increasing the threat level, including the use of (simulated) BVR missile armament. Herman explained: “They simulated the most dangerous threats, including the Russian Su-57 fighter.” Red Air included F-16C Baraks, plus AH-64 and UH-60 helicopters (drawn from other squadrons), as well as other Israeli fighters that rotated between Blue and Red, including F-35s. Aircraft from Germany, Greece, Italy and the US flew exclusively as Blue Air. The ‘enemy’ also included Patriot PAC-3 SAM batteries, locally known as Yahalom. In terms of the ‘enemy,’ Lt Col Panagiotis Katsikaris, commander of 335 Mira, stated: “The Red Force provided a significant challenge. The Reds started out easy during the first few flights, but we noticed their tactics changing as the days went by. They operated differently each day, and we had to act accordingly. We learned valuable lessons each day.” Other Israeli assets participating in the exercise included unmanned aerial vehicles and other helicopters of undisclosed types and units.

‘Building blocks’
Blue Flag develops according to a ‘building block’ approach. The exercise, which took around a year to be planned, started on October 27, with the first deployments to Ovda. After a first day of familiarisation flights, in which foreign pilots became used to local airspace and procedures, an initial phase of theatre entry began on November 4. In this period, participants trained in small formations. From the following day, activities were dedicated to defensive counter-air (DCA) missions, with Blue Forces defending a territory, reflecting daily IAF training, although NATO air forces generally face a lower threat level guarding their national airspaces. Lt Col ‘M’ (his full name was withheld), commander of 133 Squadron, confirmed: “Airspace defence isn’t common in NATO countries. We teach the international forces how to protect the country’s skies, just as we do in our day-to-day operational activity in Israel.” A second phase started on November 10, with another period of theatre entry, now concerning offensive operations. In this phase, known as small-force employment (SFE), the activity was focused on attacking ground targets and suppression/destruction of enemy air defence (SEAD/DEAD) operations. The final day, November 14, was dedicated to executing a large-force employment mission, for which the Blue Forces received only guidelines, and were then free to execute the mission in the way they chose. Each Blue Flag flying day included two main missions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but both DCA and SFE phases also included a night mission. The package commanders were chosen on a rotational basis from participating units. Personnel were kept busy. Those flying in the morning wave had to arrive on base at 0700hrs and, after all the planning, briefing and unit debriefing, they finished the working day with a mass debriefing at around 1700hrs. Those flying the afternoon mission were committed to activity well into the night. Added to that, foreign personnel were accommodated in Eilat, around an hour’s drive from the base. The focus of the exercise was on skills of the single pilot (or aircrew), cockpit management and small formations. With the exception of the last day, no large composite air operations (COMAOs) were flown. Even the command and control (C2) component, provided by Israeli and Italian CAEW aircraft, operated only as a local provider, to increase the demands on every single pilot/aircrew. Blue Flag participants could operate in large areas of airspace across the Negev desert, south of Be’er Sheva and the Dead Sea. Throughout the exercise, flying by IAF units in this area was limited – including for the flying school. Civil air traffic also faced many restrictions, above all for flights to and from the new Ramon International Airport – this was closed for around five hours each day, during the two missions. Each mission was divided into two or three waves of around a dozen aircraft each to reduce congestion in airspaces over the ranges. As in the past, the hosts sought to highlight the political importance of the exercise. Col ‘M,’ commander of Ovda Air Base, explained: “The four countries’ co-operation with Israel paves the way for many wonderful future opportunities. The air base has an opportunity to open its doors and show these countries the air force and its strength.” Importance was given also to social events, designed to strengthen the relationship between the various military contingents.

Italians in force
The Italian Air Force was the second most numerous participant, bringing 13 aircraft of three types to Ovda, plus around 200 military personnel. According to the commander of the Italian detachment (name withheld on security grounds): “The aim of this exercise was to train in a complex scenario, carrying out mainly COMAOs including low and very low-level flying activity. Several tactics and manoeuvres against SAM systems were tested, including the use of chaff and flare countermeasures. Blue Flag offers the opportunity to operate in a training environment that’s complex and highly qualified, considering the number and variety of the air assets, and the technological capabilities deployed by the participants. These exercises allow the aircrews to sharpen their tactics, procedures and techniques, in order to rapidly act in crisis operations, within multinational and international co-operation missions. Our omni-role assets [the F-35] allowed us to carry out a wide range of activities, even changing the assigned tasks during the mission, demonstrating versatility, advanced and superior capability, and the ‘task enabler’ role of this weapon system. We trained in a very complex and realistic electronic warfare scenario, and our information superiority and sharing were critical in achieving the objectives of the missions.” The objectives assigned to the various Italian types were different: the F-35 worked on integration with fourth-generation assets, with the additional possibility to integrate with other fifthgeneration aircraft. For the Typhoon it was an opportunity to work in co-operation with national and international C2 assets, in an operational environment full of electronic threats. Finally, the CAEW aircrews were tasked with improving their ability to control a large number of assets in support of operations against real threats provided by SAM systems.

Wild Weasels
The USAFE participants were also enthusiastic about the Blue Flag exercise. Capt Andrew Burns, a 480th FS F-16C pilot, explained: “Practising in Israel provides a great opportunity to fly at a low altitude and to fly against some live emitters, which is great training. It also allows us to see how different cultures think about solving problems, allowing us to come up with a better solution overall and build relationships with the other nations here that we can bring forward.” Capt Kaleb Jenkins, the 52nd Fighter Wing project officer for the exercise said: “Some of the tactical lessons learned were force structuring and how to best utilise the assets that we have available to us. Also, coming up with different game plans and how we are going to enable that in order to work through language barriers. We worked with people that we don’t normally work with when we do our normal exercises throughout USAFE. It was a bit different having to solve those problems. The Link 16 data link between our aircraft allows our jets to talk to each other, so we have spatial orientation of where other people’s jets are. Link 16 helps keep track of people a little easier and keep track of information on the battlespace – it allows us to cut the time in the language barrier and just see a digital display of different portions of the tactical airspace. It is about understanding each other’s capabilities and vulnerabilities and how we come up with the best game plan to maximise our lethality, take advantage of all of our strengths, while protecting people’s weaknesses.” Finally, Lt Gen Steven Basham, United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa deputy commander, stated: “As we come here and train as five nations in a Blue Flag exercise, we not only increase the readiness of our aviators and United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa, but we also increase the interoperability and integration with four other partner nations. There is no better opportunity to increase the readiness of our units inside USAFE-AFAFRICA, and also those units that are trained and ready to go to war for European Command.”

Adir debut
Blue Flag 2019 was important for the IAF as it was the first multinational exercise for its F-35I Adir. Lt Col ‘T,’ commander of 140 ‘Golden Eagle’ Squadron, told AFM: “This is our first time showing the Adir to international air forces. So far, our training and co-operation using the Adir was performed within the [IAF]. This is the first showing of the air force’s new capabilities.” Of course, when operating the F-35 together with other types of fighter, care had to be taken to maximise the learning value to reflect different roles and capabilities.
“This adjustment is complex,” explained Col ‘A’. “We made it so aircraft from different generations can train in parallel, with each of them having targets of their own.” As for the ability of the F-35s to work with other nations, Lt Col ‘T’ confirmed: “Our ability to sit together, brief, debrief and exchange information allowed us to take a step forward in our work, and see how each side does things differently while optimising use of the aircraft’s capabilities.” According to the Israelis, “the two F-35 teams learned a lot from each other”.

Above: The pilot of Adir 913 (AS-9, FMS 15-5157) signals prior to departure. The Israeli F-35s – assigned to 140 Squadron – were participating in a multinational exercise for the first time. Riccardo Niccoli Below: Although wearing the markings of 117 ‘First Jet’ Squadron, F-16C Barak 318 was piloted by an aggressor from Ovda’s resident 115 ‘Flying Dragon’ Squadron. Other Red Air threats included AH-64 and UH-60 helicopters, Israeli F-35s and Patriot SAM batteries. Riccardo Niccoli
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