Israel hosts largest-ever intl air force drill, pitting troops against fictional enemy

© Israeli Air Force
Israel is hosting its largest-ever international air force exercise. The two-week 'Blue Flag' drill features Israeli, American, Greek and Polish troops in a battle against a fictional enemy state.

The Blue Flag drill consists of Israeli and American F-15 squadrons, as well as Israeli, Hellenic, and Polish F-16 squadrons flying through Israeli airspace while firing simulated weapons against fictional enemy missile launchers, convoys, and aircraft, the Israeli Air Force captain in charge of the exercise told the Times of Israel.

© Israeli Air Force

However, the captain said the exercise is designed to test the capabilities of the troops involved, rather than the military equipment itself.

“We wanted it to be challenging for the airmen, rather than for the machines,” said the IAF captain, who could not be named due to security reasons.

© Israeli Air Force

He added that those running the drill aim to surprise the soldiers, putting them in situations where “the pilot doesn't know where their target is coming from.”

Several countries, including Germany, sent pilots and officers to observe the exercise. The drill has officially ended, according to the Israeli Air Force, but local media reported that some exercises are expected to continue until November 3.

© Israeli Air Force

This is the second Blue Flag exercise to be hosted by Israel. The first, smaller drill took place in 2013. The Israeli, US, Greek and Italian air forces participated.