The airforces of the US and Israel have completed a joint training exercise called the ‘Enduring Lightning’ involving F-35 jets.
The exercise included Israel’s ‘Adir’ (F-35I) aircraft from the Israel Air Force’s (IAF’s) 140 squadron (Golden Eagle) and the US Air Force’s F-35 aircraft from its 34th Fighter Squadron.
Additionally, the IAF’s 122 squadron (Nahshon), which operates the Gulfstream G-500 aircraft, participated in the exercise held over southern Israel.
During the drill, the teams practised various sorties against a range of strategic aerial and ground threats.
The exercise involved only aerial drills without face-to-face encounters between Israeli and US teams.
Classified communications devices were used for debriefings and briefings the teams due to Covid-19 threat.
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IAF International Exercises Department head Major T said: “I see great importance in cooperating on the most advanced plane in our collection with us as hosts.
“The IAF finds it important to work together with the Americans, leaders of the F-35 project, see how they operate, learn from them, and strengthen cooperation in the field of cutting-edge aviation technology.”
Earlier, Israel’s Adir participated in two such exercises that involved foreign F-35 jets.
In June last year, the Isareli aircraft took part in the joint training exercise Tri-Lightning that involved US Air Force and Royal Air Force.
Furthermore, in November, Adir featured in the international ‘Blue Flag’ exercise that hosted Italian F-35s.
However, this is the first time American F-35 aircraft participated in a joint training exercise above Israeli skies.
Major T added: “We intend to create an exercise so it will eventually become a home court exercise.
“In other words, we aspire to train like we did yesterday with American forces here in Israel regularly.”