U.S. Air Force F-16s, coalition partners kick off Blue Flag Israel 21

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Maeson Elleman
  • 52nd Fighter Wing

Six F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 480th Fighter Squadron stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, have joined a fleet of multinational partners in support of Israel’s biennial Blue Flag exercise, which began Oct. 17.

The exercise, which features fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft from several international partners, including France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, the U.S. and the U.K., is designed to showcase coalition interoperability and strength while improving multinational partnerships.

“I’m glad Israel was once again able to host our allied partners for this exercise, even during the global pandemic,” said Israeli Air Force Maj. G., second deputy commander of the 119th Squadron. “This is important for us to practice our threat response and build our skills working in a joint environment.”

This is the fifth time the Israeli Air Force has hosted the exercise since it first began in 2013, and it’s the second time Spangdahlem AB fighter jets have participated.

“The Israeli Defense Forces and Air Force have been amazing hosts,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Shaun Loomis, 480th Fighter Squadron commander. “We have been preparing and planning with our multinational partners for what will be an operationally valuable exercise.”

The two-week exercise will focus on boosting Israel’s overall defensive capabilities in the region.

“This biennial training event is essential to building and maintaining defensive interoperability and ensuring a combined tactical edge,” Loomis said. “Having experienced this exercise in 2019, we are looking forward to again exercising military cooperation and building new capabilities with our partners.”

Blue Flag 21 is slated to end Oct. 28.