Six Israeli F-35 stealth fighters landed in Italy last week to take part in a two-week air exercise in Italy with its air force, alongside those of the United States and United Kingdom, in the largest and farthest drill that the aircraft have taken part in to date. Though the explicit goal of the exercise is to improve the overall capabilities of the F-35 jet, which entered military service in late 2016. This drill â€” dubbed Falcon Strike 2021 â€” was meant to prepare Israeli pilots for using the fighter aircraft against Iranian forces.
The Exercise Falcon Strike 2021 will be held from June 6 to June 17, but will kick off in earnest on Monday. Though Israeli Air Force F-35 jets have taken part in international exercises in the past, this will be the first time that the aircraft will fly alongside F-35 planes from three other countries. In addition to the F-35 jets from Israeli Air Force (IDF), Along with one Gulfstream “Eitam” reconnaissance plane, two Boeing “Re’em” refueler jets will take part in the exercise. A large number of surface-to-air missile batteries will be used in the exercise.
This drill was also meant to prepare Israeli pilots for using the fighter aircraft against Iranian. “Iran is in our focus,” the senior officer said, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity. forces. During these missions, the Israeli pilots will simulate airstrikes on targets behind enemy lines and ground support missions, while flying over unfamiliar terrain. In addition to facing off against surface-to-air missile threats, the Israeli Air Force fighter jets will also take part in aerial dogfights.
Lockheed Martin F-35 Israeli procurement is the result of an agreement for the government of Israel to procure the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II for the Israeli Air Force as the F-35I “Adir”. The first nine F-35s became operational with the Israeli Air Force in December 2017. The IAF has been adding more of them to its fleet in groups of twos and threes in the interim four and a half years up to its current level of 27 planes. The F-35 sale has been cited as one reason why there is little public pressure from Israel to stop the 2010 U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia.