By: Aryeh Savir
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) and the US Air Force held joint the “Enduring Lightning 2” in which IAF “Adir” (F-35I) aircraft and USAF F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) trained side by side over Israel’s skies.
The exercise was held for the second time this year, as part of the two armies’ exercise program. “Enduring Lightning 1” was held in March.
In the drill, the 421st Squadron of the US Air Force, which operates F-35 aircraft, trained alongside the IAF’s 140th “Golden Eagle” Squadron, which operates the “Adir” (F-35I) aircraft.
Additionally, the 122nd “Nachshon” Squadron participated in the exercise. The squadron operates Gulfstream G550 aircraft and was responsible for conducting aerial air traffic control.
The exercise took place in southern Israel, where advanced 5th generation Israeli and American F-35 fighter jets faced various aerial and ground strategic threats. The forces worked together to locate and neutralize the threats.
Training to operate communications systems between the two forces was a focal point during this exercise.
Despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, “the IAF is fully maintaining its operational fitness and capabilities,” it stated Monday.
“Within the changing IAF coronavirus guidelines, the IAF conducts continuous joint exercises, including international cooperation, in order to maintain air superiority in the Middle East and maintain its operational fitness,” the air force added.
The IAF underscored that the two air forces enjoy “full cooperation which includes learning and drawing shared conclusions.”
“The exercise illustrates the close connection between the air forces and military echelon, enhances the cooperation of knowledge and capabilities of the F-35, and improves the IAF’s operational capabilities,” the IAF stated.
The Adir (mighty) was declared operational by the IAF in December 2017. The Israeli F-35 was the first outside of the US to be declared operational, preceded only by the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force.
The fifth-generation fighter jet, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is considered one of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. Israel has acquired a total of 50 F-35s which are to be supplied by December 2024.