The Israel Air Force recently announced that it would not be taking part in any Red Flag aerial drills, led by the US, this year. As per a statement released by the IDF, the IAF took the decision to not attend the drills because of its yearly training program, which has already been scheduled. Moreover, the IAF has already played host to the Blue Flag drill, which was the largest exercise across the globe. An international event, numerous countries came to Israel to carry out joint drills. Each year, the Red Flag activities are held at least a couple of times. They are a chance to bring together the armed forces of numerous countries, including the US, to participate in realistic simulations of combat situations. In addition, the host ensures that modern threats are correctly simulated to help participants fight through them.
The first drill of the Red Flag for this year was held on the 24th of January. It went on till the 11th of February and had no less than 11 aircrafts, along with 3,000 personnel belonging to the US Navy, Air Force, Marines, Air National Guard, Space Force, US Air Force Reserves, Australian Air Force, and Royal Air Force from the United Kingdom. Col. Jared Hutchinson, commander of the 414th Combat Training Squadron, talked about the Red Flag exercise, highlighting how unique it is. He added that it demonstrates one of the most cutting-edge and innovative tactical integration of airpower from various countries. These include the US itself and its numerous allies, such as Australia and the UK.
According to the Colonel, every flag is responsible for ensuring the improvement of the state of the art, as they help build on the actions and efforts made by the previous Red Flags. He went on to talk about how there are emerging and new real-world tactical challenges, which will soon be presented to the allied forces for the first time. Various other international forces will also be taking part in the Red Flag exercises scheduled for the months of March and July. However, the State of Israel has revealed that it will not be showing up for any activities this year. Every year, the IAF is quite regular in its participation alongside the US Air Force in its Red Flag exercises. They are usually hosted in Nevada at the Nellis Air Force Base.
In the year 2018, the IAF decided to scale back on its participation in the Red Flag activities in Alaska, when there had been rising tensions at the northside border. The drills held in Alaska focused on offering pilots the chance to take flight in combat scenarios. These also included situations related to the cold weather, such as ice and snow, which is a rarity for Israeli pilots in the region of Middle East. The Blue Flag hosted by Israel took place in the month of October. It played host to around 40 aircrafts from Italy, Germany, Britain, India, Greece, France, as well as the US. Many Israeli jets were also a part of these drills.