Multiple nations partake in an advanced military drill in Israel known as Blue Flag 2019; The drill involved approximately 800 personnel and over 40 jets from 5 different international air force bodies; IAF Officer: This is a coalition, maybe not one in wartime, but an important coalition.
Every two years, the Israeli Air Force hosts a significant military drill known as ‘Blue Flag’. The drill is said to last two weeks and in 2019, included participation from Germany (6 Eurofighters), Greece (4 F-16’s) Israel ( Multiple aircraft including the Stealth F-35), Italy (6 Eurofighters, 6 F-35’s, 1 G550), and the United States (12 F-16’s). Combined, the different air force coalitions contributed approximately 40 jets for the drill that ran from November 3-November 14. Something that made Blue Flag 2019 even more exciting is that the F-35 participated for the first time.
Blue Flag took place at Uvda Air Force Base, which is located north of the city of Eilat, down on the Red Sea. Uvda Air Force Base is unique because it is home to the “Red” Squadron, AKA “Flying Dragon”, who plays the role of an enemy in Israeli fighter jet exercises, as well as ground operatives who will control a range of enemy weaponry such as missile launchers. Additionally, there are individuals who will play the role of terrorists throughout an exercise.
As to the significance of this drill, a Senior Israeli Air Force Officer stated, “This is a coalition, maybe not one in wartime, but an important coalition.” Following suit, “Captain B”, whose identity is confidential for security reasons, added, “I believe that you have to learn something new every day. The most obvious solution might not be the most obvious solution to the scenarios we are given.” “Captain B” is an individual who moved to Israel from the United States to pursue his dream of being a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force. This was his third Blue Flag.
Before the drill began, the Israeli military emphasized that, “the exercise is of paramount strategic importance and will have a significant impact on the Israeli Air Force, the IDF and the State of Israel. The IAF is practicing and will continue to practice in collaboration with foreign air forces to maintain its competence and readiness, to strengthen the ties and interests between the forces and to encourage and strengthen the joint learning between the forces.” As part of the drill, there were multiple flights conducted where the pilots from different countries would conduct simulation combat in the air and create a scenario of dealing with real life threats such as ground-to-air missiles as well.
Working with other nations to build a more well-rounded military is something that Israel does very well. Earlier this year, the Israeli Navy conducted a multinational drill called “Mighty Waves”. The purpose of this drill is to prepare several international naval organizations, including Israel, as to how they should respond in the event of a catastrophic earthquake.
From Blue Flag to Mighty Waves, Israel is bringing several nations together in an attempt to make each one’s military better and more prepared to protect their people.