Dozens of Israeli pilots, navigators, and air force officers returned to Israel on Wednesday after participating in the "Red Flag" exercise held at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The joint exercise lasted three weeks, and this is the first time the IAF has taken part since 2009.
The IAF jets put several different types of munitions to use during the exercise, ranging from dumb bombs to Jdams(GPS guided bombs), and other accurate munitions.
The air force emphasized that the Israeli delegation's main goal was to exercise the scenarios while in the US, and less the element of long range flights, saying, "We flew to the US using international airways, with quite a few fuel stops on the way, not in an operational format."
The joint training for the four air forces involved day and night missions, and included aerial refueling, interceptions, escorts, strikes, and downed pilot rescues.
According to the head of the training division in the Israeli Air Force, Col. Or, "This exercise is the best and most important war simulation in the world. The exercise has been held for the past 40 years as a result of the lessons learned from the Vietnam War, and in addition to the contributing to our pilots' and navigators' professional skills; it also holds a strategic purpose in improving the inter-operability between the forces."
He continued to say that, "The exercise was based on an evolving combat situation which was not meant to simulate a specific region or enemy, the enemy was imaginary."
Col. Or added that the air force avoided exposing IDF combat doctrines during the exercise, using the aircraft's special indigenous systems without exposing them to the rest of the participants. However all four participants took part in the joint planning of the missions that were drafted by the American hosts.