The Israeli Air Force launched an international drone exercise on Monday, hosting pilots from five other countries, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

“Blue Guardian” is the first international drone-focused military exercise ever held, according to the statement. Aviation teams from the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy and France have joined the IAF for the drill, which will run for two weeks and see drones fly primarily over the Palmachim airbase in central Israel.

The foreign pilots will have the chance to fly IAF Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicles, the military said.

The exercise will see the teams “simulate various scenarios, including ground troop support, reconnaissance, and intelligence collections missions and cooperation with various forces in the air,” according to the statement.
Hermes 450 (foreground) and Heron Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles on display during an IAF ceremony, June 28, 2010. Photo by Ofer Zidon/Flash90.

“Israel is a pioneer in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles,” IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said on Tuesday.

“This exercise presents a platform for mutual study and growth,” said Norkin. “The exercise has national importance and influence in establishing the air force on the international level,” he added.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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