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update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

USAF, IAF launch joint ‘Juniper Oak’ training exercise

The drill simulates aerial combat scenarios including attacks deep into enemy territory.

A KC-46 Pegasus assigned to the 931st Air Refueling Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., lines up to refuel an U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet, July 1, 2020 over South Dakota. U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Andrea Morris
A KC-46 Pegasus assigned to the 931st Air Refueling Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., lines up to refuel an U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet, July 1, 2020 over South Dakota. U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Andrea Morris

The American and Israeli air forces started a new round of their bilateral “Juniper Oak” training exercise on Sunday night, the IDF announced.

The drill simulates aerial combat scenarios including attacks deep into enemy territory, achieving air superiority in space and cyber defense against a variety of threats.

Additionally, the exercise will simulate an aerial refueling with the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus. The KC-46 was selected by the U.S. Air Force in 2011 to replace the older Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. It was first delivered in 2019.

“The exercise continues and strengthens the operational cooperation between the armies and takes place as part of the series of exercises of the IDF with the Central Command of the U.S. Army,” the IDF said.

In March, the IAF participated in the two-week “Red Flag” training exercise with the USAF over the skies of the U.S. state of Nevada. The U.S. and Israeli air forces conduct daily drills involving nearly 100 aircraft. The exercise was run out of Nellis U.S. Air Force Base, located approximately 8 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

January’s “Juniper Oak” joint exercise with the IDF and U.S. Central Command, which took place in Israel and the eastern Mediterranean Sea, was the largest exercise conducted with CENTCOM, whose territory includes the Middle East. More than 140 aircraft, 12 naval vessels and artillery systems from both countries took part.

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