35 aircraft from the US, Greece, Poland, France, Italy, Germany and India along with 26 aircraft of five different Israeli Air Force (IAF) squadrons are currently participating in the Blue Flag 2017 aerial exercise, according to a November 8 report of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The Blue Flag 2017 aerial exercise started in the Ovda airbase in southern Israel on November 5. The Ovda airbase is the main training airbase of the IAF, according to Haaretz.
During the aerial exercise the involved countries trained on tradition scenarios with the IAF’s Squadron 115 playing the role of the aggressor. The scenarios included air-to-air battles, ground attack and Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions.
Moreover, a unit of Indian Special Forces, and an Israeli unspecified commando unit trained a low-level commando landing mission. The Indian and Israel units were transported using Indian and Israel transport aircrafts according to Haaretz.
“We would look to learn and share with them the procedures followed in mutual interoperability, counter- terrorist operations, method of inducting and training people and try and compare to see if a course correction is required at our end … The Israelis are more battle-hardened as they have more experience in cross border operations and we can learn from their experiences,” an Indian officer leading the Indian Special Forces unit in the training told Press Trust of India (PTI).
This the first time ever India participate in the Blue Flag aerial exercise in Israel. It’s also the first time French and German warplanes participated in the aerial exercise.
There is no doubt that the Blue Flag 2017 aerial exercise carries not only military messages, but also political messages to the friends and enemies of Israel.
The Middle East is facing another round of instability and the chanes of conflict between Hezbollah and Israel/Saudi Arabia are growing.