F-16 in Italy's skies
Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit
The missile as seen in Tel Aviv
Photo: Guy Schliefer

IAF holds distant-strike exercise

Defense Ministry confirms successful ballistic missile test-fire as IAF fighter jets conclude lengthy, long-distance missions exercise in Italy. Home Front Command to hold rocket attack simulation on Thursday

IAF fighter jets have recently concluded a lengthy exercise in Sardinia, Italy, Ynet learned on Wednesday. The maneuvers included several scenarios, including long-distance missions and midair fueling.


Earlier, the IDF successfully completed a ballistic missile test. The Defense Ministry confirmed that "a prescheduled test of a rocket propulsion system was conducted out of the Palmachim Airbase," but offered no further details.


Previous similar missile tests included Hetz ("Arrow") missile tests. The Hetz aims to intercept mid-to-long range missiles, like the kind used by Hezbollah.


   (Video: Nadav Postman)


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Foreign media reports suggested that Israel might have tested its surface-to-surface Jericho missiles. The report was neither confirmed nor denied by the Defense Ministry.


News of the Air Force's drill follow a robust debate over the possibility of an Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear facilities – a more the Islamic Republic has warned will be met with a harsh response.


'Drill a biennial routine'

"We have to train away from our home-base and this drill was an excellent platform," Lt.-Col. L., who commands the IAF squadron heading the Sardinia maneuvers, told Ynet. "We trained for distant-strikes, long-range missions and every possible scenario."


The deployment, he said, went very well: "Training with the Italian forces and NATO forces was very beneficial."


The week-long deployment saw the squadron drill long-distance missions – which it cannot do in Israel due to the small scope of its airspace.


"מתאמנים לתרחישים ארוכי טווח ומתכוננים לכל המתארים" (צילום: דובר צה"ל)

IAF squadron in Italy (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit) 


The Israeli and Italian air forces were joined by the Dutch Air Force for aerial maneuvers which included 17 Israeli fighter jets, three "Oryx" refueling tankers and a radar plane. The destination enabled the jets to drill a 2,400 kilometer flight, including midair refueling.


The maneuvers included various combat formations with NATO jets. NATO lent its famed Eurofighter Typhoon jet – considered one of the best multi-combat fighter jets in the world – to the exercise.


Ynet learned that maneuvers of this nature are held by the IAF every two years. The IAF began preparing for the Sardinia exercise in March.


"The pilots flew in unfamiliar skies, which allowed them to deal with things they don't normally encounter," Lt.-Col. L. said. "If we want to be prepared for war we have to train in unfamiliar terrain."


Ynet also learned Wednesday that the Home front Command announced that it will hold a drill simulating a rocket attack and multiple-casualty event in central Israel on Thursday.


The drill was scheduled in September and aims to test Home front Command proficiency.






פרסום ראשון: 11.02.11, 10:36
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