Israel and US hold drills targeted at Iran
The Israeli military has conducted joint training operations with the United States, holding a series of air drills to simulate strikes on Iran just days after West Jerusalem pressed US officials to accelerate their “operational plans” against Tehran.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) detailed the drills in a statement on Wednesday, saying they practiced “various scenarios in the face of regional threats” while singling out the Islamic Republic by name.
“These exercises are a key component of our two militaries’ increasing strategic cooperation in response to shared concerns in the Middle East, particularly those posed by Iran,” the IDF said.
A series of joint exercises simulating various scenarios in the face of regional threats were completed together with the U.S. Armed Forces.The exercise began as four IAF F-35i “Adir” aircraft accompanied four American F-15 fighter jets through Israel’s skies yesterday. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/eLCdRKzHyE— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 30, 2022
Four Israeli F-35 fighter jets and four American F-15s took part in the war games, which “simulated a long-range operational scenario and long-distance flights,” the IDF added, noting that a US KC-135 tanker aircraft also refueled a number of Israeli F-16s during the exercise.
The drills follow a visit to the US capital last month by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, who called on American officials to develop new “operational plans” to take on the Iranian military. The two sides also discussed their “commitment to ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon,” despite Tehran’s repeated insistence that it is not pursuing the bomb.
Israel has carried out a number of drills specifically targeting Tehran in recent months, including an exercise over the Mediterranean Sea earlier this year which reportedly simulated strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Another similar drill focused on nuclear sites was also conducted last June, involving more than 100 aircraft which practiced long-distance strikes.
While this week’s war games saw midair refueling operations with an American tanker, the Jerusalem Post previously reported that Israel had developed capabilities allowing it to reach Iran without the need to refuel along the way. The outlet suggested the air force had upgraded its US-made F-35 jets to accomplish that feat, but offered few details on the supposed improvements.