The Israeli Air Force is holding a large-scale combat exercise simulating a multi-front war. The drill, which began Sunday and ends Wednesday, involves all the platforms and squadrons in the force, including for the first time the F-35 Adir stealth fighter jet.
“All of the air force is in the air,” a senior IAF officer told reporters on Tuesday. “The entire force is taking part in the drill, from the technical branch to the operational staff and the commanders, and the Air Force commander himself.”
The drill simulates simultaneous fighting in the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Lebanon. It aims to improve the IAF’s readiness to respond to a multi-front wartime scenario, including numerous attacks over a short period of time, as well as assistance to ground forces.
“The ground forces are full partners in the exercise, and we have reached the highest levels of cooperation, generally speaking, that we have reached in the last decade,” the senior official said.
While simulating a multi-front combat scenario, the drill’s focus is on Israel’s northern front, “where the enemy is the most challenging,” the officer said.
The drill includes scenarios involving an enemy armed with advanced technology, such as the Russian S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems; a home front under massive missile attacks; and challenges such as damaged runways and disabled IAF communications centers.
“We are practicing uncertainty, flying in spaces of ambiguity, not knowing exactly who the enemy is and where they might be. This allows us to get used to uncertain situations, which is an important ability to have,” the officer said, adding that troops are also drilling on the ability to carry out strikes while minimizing civilian casualties.
The F-35, which took part “both during the day and night” in the drill for the first time, has “increased the capabilities and lethality of the Air Force,” the senior officer said, adding that the fifth-generation aircraft not only allows the IAF to strike the enemy quickly but gets them into areas where the force “hasn’t been able to get to before.”
[Sources: The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Israel Hayom, Israel National News]