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Israel's F-35 Jets to Join Multinational ‘Blue Flag’ Training

Israel's F-35 Jets to Join Multinational ‘Blue Flag’ Training

Friday, 1 November, 2019 - 12:15
FILE PHOTO: An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli Air Force pilots at the Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

Israel's F-35 stealth fighters will join a multinational maneuver starting next week in the country’s south, the military said Friday.

The air force will showcase the US-made plane at a time of high tensions between Israel and arch-foe Iran, with Israel regularly striking what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah military targets in Syria.

The United States, Germany, Italy and Greece will also participate in the "Blue Flag" exercise to be held from November 3-14, the military said in a statement.

It will be the first international 'Fifth Generation' exercise held in Israel involving the F-35, it said, referring to the most advanced fighter planes, typically employing stealth technology, advanced avionics and highly-integrated computer systems.

"This deployment will provide an opportunity for joint flights over a wide range of threat scenarios combined with advanced technology," it said, adding that the exercise would include over 1,000 personnel from different air forces.

Israel took delivery of its first two F-35s, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, in December 2016 and has since received several more. It has agreed to buy a total of 50.

In May 2018, Israel air force chief Major General Amikam Norkin announced that the planes had made their combat debut.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July warned that Israel's fighters "can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran".

He spoke on a visit to an air force base where he inspected F-35s and appeared in a video with one of the planes behind him.

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