Israeli and American air forces conduct joint drill


( Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel, the American and Israeli air forces concluded the annual Juniper Falcon air drill in the Jewish state.

An Israeli Air Force General Dynamics F-16C Barak jet of the 110th Squadron departs on a mission during the “Blue Flag” international exercise at Israel’s Ovda Air Force Base in November 2013. (Illustrative.) Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lee Osberry.

The joint two-week exercise saw dozens of U.S. fighter planes operating alongside their Israeli counterparts in various combat simulations that took place in southern Israel. 

Around 30 fighter jets participated in each drill, including Barak F-16Cs and F-15 fighter planes from the Israeli Air Force’s 69th Squadron and American F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets. 

The exercises were conducted entirely in English and did not involve the use of live fire. Divided into two opposing teams, the pilots practiced the elimination of enemy targets and advanced aerial defense techniques for evading enemy aircraft.

Israeli pilots were impressed with the professionalism of their U.S. counterparts, noting the Americans’ willingness to sustain losses in order to advance their team’s mission, i24NEWS reported.

Juniper Falcon was a precursor to Israel’s larger Blue Flag air force drill in November, when the Jewish state will host combat pilots and support crews from seven countries for the largest and most complex air exercise in the country’s history. 

Posted on May 21, 2017 .