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December 6, 2022 5:27 pm

French, Israeli Militaries Wrap Up Joint Aerial Defense Exercise

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French Dassault Rafale fighter jets participate in the “Eastern breeze” exercise in Dec. 2022 with an Israeli F-16i “Sufa” fighter jet. Photo: IDF

The Israeli and French militaries concluded a joint exercise in Israeli airspace on Tuesday.

The drill included the arrival of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, with four Dassault Rafale fighter jets onboard, as well as the participation of Israeli F16i “Sufa” (“storm”) jets from the 201 squadron.

Israeli pilots flew “shoulder to shoulder” with French counterparts, with the crews practicing a joint response to aerial threats and attacking targets “in order to learn, share, and engage in mutual enrichment,” the Israeli military said.

It described the exercise — which took place as part of a regular training plan — as “an important milestone in the development of the strategic cooperation” between the Israeli and French militaries that improved their respective readiness.

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The strike group that accompanies Charles de Gaulle said the two days of cooperation included live gunnery firings. “These flights are consolidating an already highly valuable partnership,” it wrote on social media on Tuesday.

On Sunday, it shared photos of French and Israeli naval crews meeting on the Charles de Gaulle, describing Israel as “an important partner of France in the Mediterranean Sea.”

The chief of staff of the Israeli military, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, visited France in September, where he met with the country’s military chief, Gen. Thierry Burkhard, and other senior French military officials, in part to discuss Iran, its top proxy group Hezbollah, and challenges on the Lebanese border.

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