The Israeli and Greek air forces have, in recent weeks, performed a big joint exercise.

According to Israeli sources, the unprecedented co-operation between the two services is an outcome of "some geopolitical developments in the region". Until the severance of bilateral defence ties with Turkey, the latter had been viewed as Israel's "natural" regional partner.

During the "Blue & White Glory" training exercise, the Greek air force and army deployed fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to Israeli bases.

"The co-operation between the Israeli army and the Hellenic army is intensifying in recent years and we are definitely expecting more joint deployments in future," an officer identified as Lt Col Omri, commander of the Boeing AH-64 Apache-equipped "Magic Touch" squadron – who also commanded the aerial element of the recent exercise – told the Israeli air force website. The manoeuvres also involved six helicopters and two fighter squadrons from Greece, and one Israeli helicopter squadron

"We have a very promising co-operation," says Brig Gen Antonius Daras, the commander of the Hellenic army's aerial wing. "We work hard to maintain it on a daily basis. We strive to strengthen our co-operation by exchanging teams and creating a mutual learning."

During the exercise, the participating aircraft conducted introductory flights over the Negev desert, before practising attack missions and rescuing downed pilots in joint formations.

Within the last few months, Israeli combat squadrons have also been deployed to Greek air bases, including a detachment of Apaches.