Blue Flag 2013











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Ovda Air Base Israël

24-28 November 2013

Sunday, Nov. 24 2013, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched – for the first time in Israel’s history – the Blue Flag international training exercise at Ovda airbase in southern Israel. The large-scale international exercise is a joint exercise of the US, Italian and Hellenic air forces and has been held entirely in English. The exercise, has been continued through Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 and is a part of the IAF’s elite training program. The goal of the exercise is to improve Israel’s general air defense capabilities while learning together and cooperating with global allies. The exercise involved workshops that simulated enemy forces as well as training missions to identify anti-aircraft missiles. The exercise showcases the Israeli Air Force’s aerial capabilities. Just last month, the IAF conducted a special long range flying exercise in which squadrons practiced air refueling, testing the IAF’s ability to fly exceptionally long distances. Modelled on the US Air Force’s Annual Red Flag exercise, Israel’s Blue Flag drill has seen squadrons train north of the city of Eilat in desert-based air combat. The exercise includes air-to-air and air-to-surface simulated missions. The exercise required many preparations by air and ground crews, long before the foreign air forces landed in Israel. Previous meetings with foreign air forces were held to set “the rules of the game for the exercise”. Training with other air forces enables all participants to share operational capabilities and experience; train in unfamiliar terrain; and practice long-range flying, the source said. The exercises are designed to simulate realistic engagements in a variety of scenarios, based on Israel’s experience with air forces of Arab armies in previous engagements. The US sent F-15E Strike Eagles from the 48TFW based at RAF Lakenheath UK. and Greece sent F-16s from 340 Mira (sq) based at Souda Bay on the island of Crete. Italy sent the AMX ground-attack aircraft from the 32 Stormo (wing) based at Amendola air base, the 51 Stormo based at Istrana air base and Tornado aircraft from the 50th Stormo based at Piacenza air base. During the exercise, the IAF is employing a new system for the first time that stores data from all planes taking part, and processes it to investigate how pilots performed. In addition to the scenarios that have been practiced during the exercise, the Israeli squadrons will train for a flight conducted entirely in the English language, as required in the international exercise. “‘Blue Flag" is an advanced exercise at a very high level and we have to fly the missions in the English language, which is something we aren’t used to”, said IAF First Lieutenant Omri, who is responsible for the workshop from the “Knights of the Orange Tail” squadron. The whole exercise has been organized by the Flying Dragon squadron, the Aggressor squadron of the Israel air force.
Blue Flag 2013

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