Israeli and American air force pilots will participate in a joint exercise this week over the Arava desert, north of Eilat. Several U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets have already arrived in Israel to participate in the drill, which will take place at the Israeli Air Force’s Ovda air base. Ovda is home to the Flying Dragon Squadron, also known as the Red Squadron, which acts as enemy aircraft during combat simulations. The squadron is comprised of F-16 fighter jets and Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.

“An international exercise in cooperation with the American air force will begin in the coming days,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said. “The exercise is based on the annual training plan.” This week’s exercise is a precursor to a significantly larger air force drill scheduled for November, dubbed “Blue Flag.” During Blue Flag, Israel will host combat pilots and support crews from seven countries—the U.S., Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India and Italy—for the largest and most complex air exercise in the Jewish state’s history. READ MORE