Israel Holds Largest-ever Air Force Dill with UAE Participation

Israel has held the 'Blue Flag' exercises every two years since 2013 in the Negev desert. (Photo: video grab)

Israel is holding its largest-ever air force exercise this week, joined by several Western countries and India, with the United Arab Emirates’ air force chief set to inspect the drills, according to Israeli military sources.

Amir Lazar, chief of Israeli air force operations, told reporters that the drills “don’t focus on Iran”, but army officials have said the Islamic republic remains Israel’s top strategic threat and at the center of much of its military planning.

Israel has held the “Blue Flag” exercises every two years since 2013 in the Negev desert. Some preliminary exercises began last week.

Other nations taking part this year include France, the United States and Germany, as well as Britain, whose aircraft flew over Israeli territory for the first time since the Jewish state’s creation in 1948.

With more than 70 fighter jets — including Mirage 2000s, Rafales and F-16s — and about 1,500 personnel participating, the drills are the largest-ever held in Israel, Lazar told reporters at the southern Ovda airbase.

Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed Al Alawi, commander of the United Arab Emirates air force, landed in Israel on Monday, the Israeli army said in a statement.

While UAE aircraft are not flying in the drills, Lazar said the visit from the country’s air force chief was “very significant”.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

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