US Air Force and Israeli Air Force train during Desert Falcon Exercise


During the second week of January, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) hosted the U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) at Uvda AFB for the “Desert Falcon” joint exercise.

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US Air Force and Israel Air Force train during Desert Falcon Exercise 01 Desert Falcon Exercise (Picture source: Amit Agronov)


The "Desert Falcon" joint exercise, led by the IAF's 119th Squadron, was held with the American 55th Fighter Squadron at Uvda AFB. As part of the exercise, the squadrons dealt with various aerial threats, simulated by the 115th ("Flying Dragon") Squadron, the IAF's aggressor squadron. Also participating in the exercise was the 122nd Squadron, which is responsible for conducting airborne air control.

"Cooperating with squadrons from other air forces requires a lot of planning", said Capt. A. from the 119th Squadron. We really emphasized the complete integration of the Americans, to allow us to learn how to cooperate in the most effective way possible. We did so through heterogenic formations that consisted of Israeli and American aircraft and required a lot of close coordination. Beyond the professional cooperation, it was also important for us to make connections on a personal level".

At times, it was hard to tell them service members apart. Beyond the formations and the briefing rooms, American personnel sat with Israeli personnel during meals, each wearing different colored uniforms, conversing and getting to know one another. "We all have a common language - an aerial language. Despite all the possible communication gaps, when we take off, we understand each other and speak the same language", shared Maj. E, Deputy Commander of the 119th Squadron. "However, the fact that the communication is not in Hebrew, pushes us a little out of our comfort zone. I believe that this challenge is an excellent opportunity, it forces us to be even more focused".


US Air Force and Israel Air Force train during Desert Falcon Exercise 02 Desert Falcon Exercise (Picture source: Amit Agronov)


"The purpose of the exercise was to strengthen the foundations of our operational ties with the Americans", said Maj. E. "Our squadrons share the same region, the Middle East region, and there is incredible significance in our ability to cooperate. I'm very happy to have had the privilege of flying with another air force, it's an amazing opportunity to learn and improve. "I believe this is only the start of strong cooperation".

The Air Control Division also participated in the exercise. Air Controllers from the 115th and 122nd squadrons, and from the advanced training department all came to ensure that the training could operate smoothly, and to guide the aircraft through their drills. "We learned the methods and doctrines of the Americans, and they learned from us. This was a great opportunity for us to strengthen our regional cooperation", described Lt. Y.

Lt. V, who served as a controller in the 115th Squadron, arrived especially for the exercise. As a controller in the "Red" squadron, his job was to set the level of training. As the IAF's aggressor squadron, they are responsible for simulating enemy forces and creating different challenges for aircrew members. "Before the exercise, we determined our goals and set the right format. We want to allow them to become familiar with as many of the region's challenges as we can".

"This exercise allowed us to present our knowledge and capabilities in the best way possible, as well as learn a lot from them", stated Lt. Y. "In addition to the operational benefit, it was a fascinating experience. These are very interesting high-level scenarios and it's a great experience to operate and learn together".


US Air Force and Israel Air Force train during Desert Falcon Exercise 03 Desert Falcon Exercise (Picture source: Amit Agronov)


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