Local media reports that Israel plans to share its experience operating the F-35 with the US and the UK in an upcoming exercise.
The operational experience acquired by the Israeli Air Force in recent months is of great interest to the United States and other countries that operate the F-35, according to local media.
Last year’s operation fighting in Syria has made the Israeli Air Force one of the most experienced operators of the jet. Local media reported that one of the primary reasons for Israeli involvement was among other things, to share operational experience related to using the aircraft in combat.
The Israeli Air Force and the Royal Air Force are holding a joint exercise soon but it’s currently unclear if this is part of this upcoming exercise in which Israeli jets will visit the UK or an exercise in which British jets will visit Israel, or something new entirely.
Earlier in the year it was confirmed that Israel will join the RAF’s Cobra Warrior exercise in September along with aircraft from Germany and Italy.
The Cobra Warrior exercise traditionally includes crew and aircraft from other allied air forces that train together with their British counterparts in complex combat scenarios. Formerly named the Combined Qualified Weapons Instructor, Cobra Warrior is focussed on providing the combined assessment phase for the RAF’s Weapons Instructors.
An MoD spokesperson told the UK Defence Journal:
“The Israeli Air Force will be participating Exercise Cobra Warrior in Sep 2019. This is the culminating event for the UK’s Weapons Instructor qualification course. The exercise will be run out of RAF Waddington.
The Israeli Air Force role, basing and footprint during Ex Cobra Warrior is yet to be determined. Israel are planning to bring an, as yet, unspecified number of F15 aircraft with appropriate support personnel. Other participants in Ex Cobra Warrior 19 include Germany and Italy.”
It is unknown whether or not this is an additional exercise or whether Israel are now sending F-35 jets to the UK.
Another possibility is that with the Royal Air Force expected to take part in the Israeli Blue Flag 2020 exercise, which would be the first time British aircraft have trained in Israeli airspace however, this is where the joint F-35 exercise will take place.
Last year, Israeli combat pilots attended a joint training seminar with the Typhoon aircrew at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, but reportedly did not arrive with their own aircraft.