Israel Takes Part in US-led Exercises in Eastern Europe, Pacific for the First Time

The IDF will participate in RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii, as well as in Swift Response, a major ground exercise sweeping across Poland, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania

From RIMPAC 2016. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac - https://www.dvidshub.net/image/2747116/underway-replenishment-rimpac-2016#, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50646245

Israel will take part in a series of large military exercises this month, led by the United States, stretching from the Baltics to the Pacific.

According to Breaking Defense, the Pentagon is pursuing a new strategy opposite growing powers like China and Russia and is reaching out to old allies such as Israel and Vietnam to bolster its ranks.

Israel, as the report reads, is doing double duty as a new partner in Europe and the Pacific. The IDF will participate in RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii, as well as in Swift Response, a major ground exercise sweeping across Poland, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania.

In Europe, some 40 Israeli paratroopers joined the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade in an operation to seize the Miroslawiec airfield in Poland, a US Army spokesman said. This is the first time the IDF is participating in a US European Command exercise conducted outside of Israel.

In March, the IDF and US Army conducted the two-week Juniper Cobra exercise in Israel, with 2,000 Israeli Aerial Defense troops with at least 2,500 US troops running through a series of intensive air defense drills. Israeli and American officials made clear that US and Israeli forces would fight together in the future, should it be necessary.

In the Pacific, Israel’s participation in RIMPAC is part of the country’s “efforts to maintain and enhance its capabilities,” an IDF spokesperson told Breaking Defense, while declining to provide any more information about how large the IDF’s presence will be or if any actual ships will be involved in the world’s largest naval exercise.

Kicking off on June 27, the month-long exercise will include forces from 26 nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. In addition to Israel, this year will mark the first time Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Brazil will join the drills.

 

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