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April 3, 2022 1:50 pm

Israeli Pilots Fly ‘Wing-to-Wing’ With American, European Forces in Joint Exercise

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

The Israeli Air Force participates in the eight “Iniohos” multinational exercise in Greece in March 2022. Photo: IDF

The Israeli Air Force said its forces trained “wing-to-wing” last week with counterparts from seven other countries during an aerial exercise simulating combat scenarios.

The joint air drill “Iniochos” included forces from Greece, where it took place, as well as the United States, France, Italy, Canada, Cyprus, and Slovenia. It marks an “important milestone” in improving cooperation between Israel and the participating nations, the IAF said on Sunday.

Brig. Gen. Amir Lazar, head of the IAF’s air division, described international cooperation as “a cornerstone of our training program.”

“This is the eighth year we have participated in the ‘Iniochos’ exercise — an exercise with quality training, the sharing of knowledge, and opportunities to improve,” he added.

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Dozens of aircraft engaged in simulated air-to-air combat scenarios during the drill, incorporating advanced surface-to-air missile threats, combat maneuvers in enemy territory, flying in unfamiliar areas, and joint flight maneuvers.

On the Israeli side, the 253rd and 201st F-16i squadrons from the “Ramon” Air Force Base and the 122nd Squadron’s “Nachson” G-550 from the “Nevatim” Air Force Base, flew alongside pilots from the US with F-15 fighter jets and MQ-9 drones, and from Italy with Tornado fighter jets. France joined with Rafale fighter jets and Cyprus with the AW139 helicopter.

Several countries participated in the drill as observers, including Albania, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, Austria, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom, India, Kuwait, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, according to the Hellenic Air Force.

Washington’s envoy to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, pointed out the “growing complexity of the scenarios that the Iniochos exercise is demonstrating and the unique and broad number of participants that Greece is able to attract.”

“This kind of bridge-building and the reinforcement of our alliance is particularly important at this moment as Russia continues its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” Pyatt tweeted.

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