Israeli, US Air Force joint ‘Juniper Oak’ exercise begins


The air forces of the US and Israel began a new round of their bilateral “Juniper Oak” training exercise on Sunday night, the Israel Defense Forces announced. The drill simulates air combat scenarios which include strikes deep into enemy territory, achieving air superiority in space and cyber defence against various threats.

Additionally, the exercise will simulate aerial refuelling with the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus. The KC-46 was selected by the US Air Force in 2011 to replace the ageing Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. Its first delivery took place in 2019. “The exercise continues and strengthens operational cooperation between the armies and takes place as part of a series of IDF exercises with the US Army Central Command,” the IDF said. In March, the IAF participated in a two-week “Red Flag” training exercise with the USAF over the skies of the US state of Nevada.

The US and Israeli air forces conduct daily exercises involving approximately 100 aircraft. The exercise was launched from Nellis US Air Force Base, located approximately 8 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Joint exercise “Juniper Oak” with the IDF and US Central Command in January, which took place in Israel and the eastern Mediterranean, was the largest ever conducted with CENTCOM, whose region includes the Middle East. Over 140 aircraft, 12 naval ships and artillery systems from both countries participated.

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