This month, the Israel Air Force took its fighter jets, IAF F-15s, to Britain for the first time for a combat drill with the Royal Air Force, with German and Italian aircraft also partaking, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Exercise Cobra Warrior is one of the major annual RAF drills, and is meant to provide extensive airborne training to pilots and other air specialists, in both planning and fulfilling their missions.
Two RAF Typhoons alongside an RAF Voyager during Exercise Cobra Warrior.— Henry Jones (@hthjones) September 20, 2019
There are over 50 aircraft taking part from the UK, US, Germany, Italy, and Israel. pic.twitter.com/ySH5BVZ5gp
This year's exercise, conducted from the grounds of the RAF Waddington airbase, known to be home to Britain’s surveillance vehicles, included a large Israeli contingent: seven F-15 Baz air superiority fighters and an unspecified number of Boeing 707 Re’em airborne tankers.
Israel Air Force takes part in the British RAF "Cobra Warrior" exercise.— Erez Neumark 🇮🇱🇧🇪 (@ErezNeumark) September 20, 2019
This is the first fighter deployment of the IAF to the UK, and the first joint exercise of the Israeli Air Force and the Royal Air Force of this magnitude. @jeremycorbyn😊https://t.co/h6tqzFJdP7
According to Brig. Gen. Amnon Ein-Dar, commander of the IAF’s Air Division, the drill provided an invaluable opportunity to work with “doctrines we are less acquainted with." "The British and the other air forces in the exercise work according to NATO protocols, while we have a different system, due to the environment we operate in,” he explained at length.
The Israeli F-15s took part in air-to-air operations in mock dogfights and aircraft interceptions, as well as simulated ground attacks, and a series of British and international debriefings.
Not to interrupt the process, the Israelis even flew a mobile polling station to the airbase for the servicemen to cast their ballots during this week’s national election.
Ein-Dar also commented on the growing tensions on Israel’s northern border and in Gaza, saying they were prepared to get back home should the necessity arise.
Earlier this year, Israeli and UK fighter jets conducted the first joint exercise over the eastern Mediterranean, involving also the United States Air Force. The distinguishing feature of the joint air forces’s drill was that they all made use of the F-35 stealth fighter.
There has also been a certain exchange in weapons between Israel and Britain, as the British military has purchased several key Israeli weapons systems over the past few years, including the Exactor land-based missile system, Watchkeeper UAVs and the Lightening targeting pods carried by RAF fighter jets.