The Israel Air Force this week will hold one of its largest drills in years with the United States Air Force simulating offensive strikes against Iran’s nuclear program.
The drill will take place from Tuesday until Thursday over the Mediterranean Sea and Israel. It will include long-range flights such as those that Israeli pilots might need to make in order to reach the Islamic Republic. The exercise will include refuelers as well as fighter jets from both forces.
Washington and Israel have signed an agreement that would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war, and the two militaries have held numerous joint air defense exercises in recent years.
Iran, which possesses over 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, continues to smuggle weapons to countries and non-state actors such as Hezbollah, which is estimated to have an arsenal of some 50,000 missiles on Israel’s northern border.
With tensions high over Iran’s nuclear program and regional hostility, Israel and the Islamic Republic have been threatening each other with senior officers stating that their militaries are capable of striking the other.
Israel has significantly increased its readiness level and has taken steps throughout the past year to prepare a credible military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The NIS 58 billion defense budget set for the IDF in the coming year is expected to allow the Israeli military to focus on the threats posed by Iran across the region, with some NIS 3.5b. designated specifically for this.
The upcoming drill was discussed by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi during his visit to Washington last week. Kohavi, who returned to Israel a day earlier than planned following a deadly double bombing in Jerusalem, met with senior American officials including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Kurilla.
In the last year, the IDF and CENTCOM forces have held several joint drills as well as operational missions. Kurilla was in Israel a week prior to Kohavi’s visit and toured the northern border as well as the IAF’s fleet of F-35 Adir stealth fighter jets. (SOURCE)
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