The Israeli air force is planning to stage its largest ever multinational exercise, with at least five foreign air forces due to participate. To be mounted from Uvda air base, the manoeuvres are expected to involve "dozens" of different types of combat aircraft, local sources says.

In recent years, the Israeli air force has trained in several different countries in Europe, but this will be the first time that full squadrons from foreign nations will go to Israel to perform such a major exercise.

One air force source says that while the planned exercise may look like a local copy of the US Air Force's "Red Flag" series of exercises, it will differ by including the availability of unspecified "Israeli elements".

In preparation for hosting the multinational activity, the Israeli air force recently performed a major exercise, dubbed "Blue Flag", in which Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters from its "Flying Dragon" squadron acted in the aggressor role.

Israeli sources say many air forces are willing to join the multinational exercise, mainly because of the host nation's recent operational experience. The Israeli air force was heavily involved in the "Pillar of Defense" operation against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip late last year, with the service having attacked 1,500 targets and used 2,000 weapons across different types.

Source: Flight International