Israeli Air Force pilots recently had a unique opportunity to train alongside their Pakistani and Emirati colleagues, as part of an international exercise held in the United States, it has now been revealed.
An IAF mission to the Nellis Air Force base in Nevada participated in the prestigious Red Flag advanced combat training exercise, which took place between Aug. 15 and Aug. 26, alongside the U.S., Spanish, Pakistani and Emirati air forces.
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have no diplomatic ties with Israel.
The annual Red Flag drill has been in place for 41 years, set in place as part of the U.S. Air Force’s conclusions from the Vietnam War.
Traditionally, the squadrons participating are assigned to “red” and “blue” forces, with the American squadron acting as an enemy — “red” — force. The aircrews practiced engagement and interception, striking targets, rescue and recovery missions, and intelligence gathering.
This was the second consecutive year in which the IAF was invited to participate in Red Flag, sending eight Israeli F-16I Sufa fighter jets, along with several refueling planes.
A senior IAF official told Israel Hayom that “participating in this exercise is very significant. It affords us the opportunity to both train our pilots in the best way possible and bolster our cooperation with the United States.”