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Historic Training Exercise Sees Israeli Jets Deployed in UK for the First Time

September 22, 2019 Special Feature

Israeli jets trained in the UK for the first time. UK, Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has long conducted joint training with other nations, but somehow had never deployed jets in the United Kingdom. That changed in the last few weeks, as the IAF participated alongside other nations in the UK’s “Cobra Warrior” exercise with the Royal Air Force (RAF). An article posted to the IAF website highlighted the historic nature of the training, noted it involved dozens of training scenarios and quoted one participant saying it’s “like the Olympics.”

Maj. A’, an Israeli technical officer, was quoted in the article as saying, “People who participate in the Olympics represent their country; here, we represent the Israeli Air Force.”

The Israelis were joined in the training by the US, Germany, Italy and Canada, in addition to the RAF. The RAF Twitter feed called it the “largest Royal Air Force exercise of the year,” with three weeks of “intensive training.” The RAF website said the exercise ended last week, with a report stating that the training “rehearsed a range of complex scenarios” from an enemy that is nearly on par with the participating advanced air forces.

“The RAF welcomes the participation of our Air Force colleagues from other nations and we welcome the opportunity to train alongside all of the participating nations’ forces on this challenging exercise,” Exercise Director and Group Captain Robert Barrett was quoted in the RAF report as saying.

The IAF article on the training pointed out that it offered Israeli forces multiple unique training opportunities. For one, the UK provides a different terrain and weather, which provides the Israeli pilots new challenges and prepares them for surprises.

In addition, the Waddington Air Force Base is not normally a home to fighter jets, which meant the Israelis also had to intensify their preparation for plane maintenance at the base, even needing to make sure they had a ladder for boarding the jets.

The training also gave the participants an opportunity to learn from the other nations’ air forces. “We see how the operational planning process is set up because we set up a little bit different. We see how people are executing in the air—what we can learn out of their drills and the way they are flying. Of course, everything together and speaking to other guys, it’s a huge lesson learned,” IAF Brigadier General Annon Ein Dar was quoted in the RAF report as saying.

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev stopped by the air base where the training was being held, posting to Twitter that “this important cooperation will further strengthen our common security.”

Regev wasn’t the only Israeli official promoting the joint training on Twitter. A post on the exercise by the IDF Twitter page summarized the effort by saying, “Together, we are strong. Together, we soar.”

And for the first time ever, Israeli jets soared together in the UK.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 22, 2019)

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