Air force commanders from around the globe are in Israel to improve cooperation with one of the world’s leading air forces and to learn about regional challenges.  

By: United with Israel Staff

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is hosting an international three-day conference during which representatives from more than 20 air forces came together to discuss international cooperation and regional stability.

The representatives are from the US, the UK, Italy, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, India, Holland, Greece, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Croatia, France, Romania, Finland, Vietnam, Bulgaria, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands.

The main goals of this event are to “establish aerial power as a source of stability. We’re going to emphasize our technology and values in the IAF. We see this conference as a platform to build and strengthen our partnerships internationally,” a senior IAF officer stated.

Most importantly, the IAF’s seeks “to connect these important partners to the State of Israel, to the IDF, and to the air force,” the officer added.

Israel First in World to Deploy F-35

On the first day, Tuesday, the officials were addressed by IAF Commander Major General Amikam Norkin, who revealed that Israel’s newly acquired F-35 “Adir” fighters are already operational and flying in operational missions.

“We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity,” Norkin said.

He further revealed that during the recent flare-up in northern Israel, in which the IAF conducted multiple strikes against Iranian targets in Syria in response to an Iranian attack on Israel, the Iranians fired 32 rockets, while Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted four of them and the rest fell in Syrian territory.
Furthermore, in response to Israel’s strike in Syria, more than 100 ground-to-air missiles were fired at Israeli fighter planes.

On Wednesday, the representatives will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Tel Nof Airbase. After the meeting, they will view a training exercise with newer pilots, whom they will later meet to discuss the challenges that the State of Israel faces.

A Tradition of Cooperation

This is not the first time Israel is hosting a conference of this kind. However, this conference will give the air chiefs an opportunity to get a close look at the regional dynamic.

“When we say regional stability, look at Blue Flag, a big exercise that we had here back in November…The fact that we are working and cooperating together, with all these western air forces brings stability. The air force is so prominent in all the conflicts around us and is a source of stability. That’s what we believe in the air force,” a senior IAF official explained.

“This is an opportunity for us to open a window for many countries to see Israel, its views, its history, its aerial capabilities, its military capabilities, and the high quality of its people,”  Norkin stated. “Just having over 20 air force commanders in charge of strategic forces arrive at Israel at this time is a display of support for Israel”.

The IAF has a tradition of cooperating with other air forces.

Last month, “Re’em” (Boeing 707) aircraft participated in the US Air Force’s banner training exercise, Red Flag 2018, held in Alaska. In November 2017, Israel’s Uvda Air Force Base hosted the Blue Flag international training exercise. In March, the IDF held its largest international training exercise yet, Juniper Cobra 2018. During the same month, an Israeli delegation of “Shimshon” (C-130J) aircraft participated in a combined training exercise in India.

The IAF also routinely holds combined training exercise with the Greek and Cypriot air forces.

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