The Israeli Air Force this week launched the largest and most complex aerial exercise in the Jewish state’s history, involving combat pilots and support crews from the US, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India, Italy and an unidentified eighth country.
The drill, dubbed “Blue Flag,” is a biennial event that was originally launched in 2013. This year’s exercise, the third of its kind, involves more than 1,000 participants.
The IDF stated that the exercise aims to advance “diplomatic cooperation between the countries” as well as to improve participants’ planning, targeting, and coordinated command and control abilities in high-threat theaters.
The military also emphasized that the drill is not connected to any specific ongoing security threat.
The involvement of France, Germany, India and Italy in this year’s exercise is the most significant change to the Blue Flag program since its inception. Since 2015, the drill has included Israel, the US, Greece and Poland.
In addition to the four new nations joining this year’s exercise, officers and attachés from 40 other nations are expected to attend in an observational capacity.