The Israeli Air Force took part for the first time in RED FLAG-Alaska – an exercise which aims to increase interoperability between the US and partner nations. RED FLAG-Alaska 18-1 took place from April 30 to May 11, 2018.
“[For the first time] the Israeli Air Force tankers were certified to fuel US Air Force F-15s and F-16s, and we were able to incorporate them in voles [missions] throughout the exercise,” said Capt. Loren Keisling, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron chief of battle management.
“Practicing in a different area with different partners enriches our knowledge and improves our professional abilities,” said Chief Warrant Officer Haim Baruch, an Israeli Air Force maintainer. “In addition, the exercise strengthens the connections between the countries, from the strategic level to the diplomatic level.”
The Israeli participation in RF-A allowed pilots to train in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which is more than seven times the size of Israel.
“The training area in Alaska is vast and it gives us the opportunity to do our missions better than we can in [Israel’s narrow airspace],” said Maj. B, an Israeli Air Force B-707 pilot. “The Israeli weather and topography are definitely different from Alaska,” he added. “The low temperatures posed new challenges that we had to deal with, both in terms of [our people] and the behavior of the B-707 in that environment.”
“Flying with all the participating units was great, especially the tanker and fighter squadrons who are part of an Air Force where one of its greatest specialties is aerial refueling and taking aircraft [long distances],” said Maj. B.