The IDF Hosts Blue Flag 19: A Fifth Generation Enabled Air Combat Exercise


The Israeli Air Force is hosting a five day exercise in the south of the country involving over one thousand personnel from four nations, the US, Germany, Italy, and Greece.

The IDF’s F-35s are a key part of the exercise.

Currently the IAF has 14 F-35 Adir aircraft and is expected to receive from the US a total of 50 planes to make two full squadrons by 2024.

According to an article published by the Times of Israel on November 1, 2019:

This would be Israel’s fourth time hosting Blue Flag since its inception in 2013, and it has become more complex over time.

For the first time, the F-35 fighter jet was due to take part in the exercise, the military said.

“As part of the exercise, dozens of flights are due to be carried out, in which the [Israeli] Air Force, along with the other air forces taking part, will simulate air-to-air combat, and air-to-ground combat, dealing with the threat of advanced surface-to-air missiles and scenarios of combat in enemy territory,” the IDF said.

“This deployment provides an opportunity to conduct joint tactical flights against a variety of threats, using advanced technology,” the military said.

The Israeli Air Force credits the Blue Flag exercise and other international aerial drills with improving its capabilities as it both allows Israeli pilots an opportunity to see how other air forces operate and also teaches them to effectively communicate with foreign pilots and crews, something that may come in handy if Israel ever participated in a multi-national military operation.

In the video below, aU.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, taxis on the runway at Uvda Air Base, Israel, October 30, 2019. The F-16 is taking part in Blue Flag, a biennial training event that builds and maintains defensive interoperability and cooperation between militaries.

The featured photo shows an Israeli fighter jet being checked in the Israeli Air Force’s Ovda base north of Eilat on October 31, 2019, before the launch of the international Blue Flag exercise, which is being hosted by Israel. (Israel Defense Forces)