The United States Air Force this week will hold one of its largest drills in years with the Israel Air Force simulating offensive strikes against Iran nuclear program that will include refuelers as well as fighter jets from both forces.
The drill, which will include long-range flights that Israeli pilots might need to make in order to reach Iran – which possesses over 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles- will take place over the Mediterranean Sea and Israel from Tuesday until Thursday.
The two militaries have held numerous joint air defense exercises in recent years in line with the agreement that Washington and Israel have signed that would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war.
They’re also developing – at an accelerated rate – joint military capabilities against Iran as well as against other threats in the Middle East.
Throughout the past year, Israel has significantly increased its readiness level against Iran’s nuclear facilities and has taken steps to prepare a credible military option with tensions high over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and regional hostility.
Tel Aviv and Tehran have been threatening each other, stating that their militaries are capable of striking the other, while Iran continues to smuggle weapons to countries and non-state actors such as Hezbollah, which has an estimated arsenal of some 50,000 missiles on the northern border of Israel.
In the last year, the United States Central Command’s (CENTCOM) forces and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have held several joint drills as well as operational missions with the latest drill being discussed last week during IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi’s visit to Washington.
Israel has allocated NIS 58 billion defense budget for the Israeli military that will allow IDF to focus on the threats Iran posed across the region.