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Israel joins air force exercise in Italy alongside USAF and RAF

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet releases flare near Sderot, in southern Israel on the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2021 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet releases flare near Sderot, in southern Israel on the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2021 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The Israeli air force is participating in a two-week joint exercise dubbed Falcon Strike 2021 along with pilots from the United States, Britain, and Italy, Kan public radio reported on Sunday. A senior Israeli officer said that six F-35 fighter jets arrived in Italy last week to take part in the exercise which is scheduled to begin today.

The Italian air force aircraft will act as the enemy "red team". The latest Eurofighter Typhoon jets and Predator drones will be taking part in the exercise, said the anonymous officer.

Although Israeli F-35 fighters have taken part in international exercises in the past, this is the first time that they will fly alongside F-35s from other countries. According to a report in the Times of Israel, "Though the explicit goal of the exercise is to improve the overall capabilities of the F-35 jet… a senior Israeli Air Force officer acknowledged that in part, this drill… was meant to prepare Israeli pilots for using the fighter aircraft against Iranian forces."

READ: Workers in Italy refuse to load arms shipment to Israel

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