IAF, US Air Force and Royal Air Force Conclude First-Ever Joint F-35 Drill

Photo by IAF on 26 June, 2019

By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 26 June, 2019

The Israeli Air Force (IAF), the US Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) on Tuesday concluded the Tri-Lightning joint exercise, the first time in history that F-35 fighters from several armies participated in a joint drill.

The exercise took place during IAF week, marking 71 years since the establishment of the Israeli Air Force.

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The US Air Force F-35As flew from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, the Royal Air Force F-35Bs flew from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, and the IAF F-35Is flew from Nevatim Air Base.

Tri-Lightning was a one-day defensive counter air exercise involving friendly and adversary aircraft from the three participating countries, and consisted of active and passive air defense operations, the US Air Forces Central Command stated.

The IDF underscored that the exercise was pre-scheduled as part of the annual training graph and constitutes a unique opportunity for the joint training of the 5th generation combat aircraft. Furthermore, the exercise enabled the cooperation between the air forces and the development of joint capabilities.

The Air Force maintains and continues to hold significant international training to strengthen future military cooperation, with an emphasis on advancing the F-35 capabilities, the IDF noted.

IAF Brigadier General Amnon Ein-Dar stated that the exercise was “the first international F-35 exercise, reflecting the close cooperation between the forces. International cooperation between Israel, the US and Britain reinforce common interests and new and exclusive capabilities in the Middle East.”


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