Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters operated by the Air Forces of Italy, U.K. and Israel are set to take part in this year’s edition of Falcon Strike 21 (FS21) exercises.
Drill to help prepare Israeli Pilots to use F-35s against Iran
A senior Israeli Air Force officer acknowledged that in part, this drill was meant to prepare Israeli pilots for using the fighter aircraft against Iranian forces. “Iran is in our focus,” the senior officer said, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, Times of Israel reported.
Falcon Strike 21 a joint, multinational exercise involving service members from the U.S., Israel, Italy and the United Kingdom to integrate 4th and 5th generation fighter capabilities in a large force employment event.
According to the U.S. Air Force, the exercise increases the level of cooperation in the F-35 logistics and expeditionary fields, and strengthens interoperability of allied and partner air forces during joint operations.
FS21 will take place at Amendola Air Base, Italy, from June 7-15, 2021.
Six Israeli F-35I Adir fighter jets from 116th and 140th Squadrons were deployed from Nevatim to Amendola to participate in the drills.
“Our Adir (F-35I) Division has recently touched down in Italy as part of its first-ever overseas deployment and will begin training alongside our friends from the Italian Air Force, U.S.A.F., Royal Air Force (RAF),” Israel Air Force (IAF) tweeted Sunday. “Throughout the exercise, the IAF will drill a wide variety of operational scenarios to enhance the operational capabilities of the F-35 while strenghtening international cooperation.”
F-35A variant jets operated by Italy and RAF’s F-35Bs will also be taking part.