Greek fighter jets landed in Israeli this week Greek F-16 C/D squadron and the Israeli “Knights of the Orange Tail” squadron, which flies the F-16I “Sufa” jets, joined forces for a unique joint exercise.
“This deployment is of immense significance for us”, said Major Dovev, Deputy Commander of the “Knights of The Orange Tail” squadron. “This kind of work, squadron alongside squadron, allows for an open, productive dialogue, on both a professional level and on a personal level”.
At first glance, it appears that the Greek and Israeli operational realities could not be any more different: Israel’s borders are terrestrial, while those of Greece are surrounded by three seas. Nonetheless, the two sides discovered this week a completely different picture.
“It seems that we are not as different as we thought”, says Lieutenant Colonel Tomer, Commander of the “Knights of the Orange Tail”. “During the training exercise, we came to understand that the flight language of Western air forces is very similar. Even when we compared our readiness with theirs for example, we were surprised to see how similar it was. Each side had its particularities, but operationally, we’re very similar”.
“We all Want to Be Better”
The last time that the Greeks and Israelis trained side-by-side was the “Blue Flag” exercise exactly a year ago, which was much larger in scope and included a much large number of places from different countries. During the current exercise, the work between the squadrons was done in close cooperation.
The squadrons practiced different complex air-to-air scenarios, with a combination of aerial refueling, protecting strategic assets and dealing with unexpected threats in the sky in order to learn from one another.
“We led some of the flights and the Greeks led others”, explained Lieutenant Colonel Tomer. “Everyone’s central goal was to improve our capabilities”, he clarified. “Cooperation is a significant part, but ultimately it is a means of reaching the goal-We all want to be better”.