Not only the number of aircraft involving in the exercise but also the number of countries participating in the 2017 edition increased! In 2013 only the Hellenic Air Force, Italian Air Force and the United States Air Force participated besides the Israeli Air Force combat squadrons. The Polish Air Force joined the 2015 edition as new country with their F-16’s, while the 2017 edition saw the French Air Force, German Air Force and the Indian Air Force participating. For these last tree countries it was the first time ever formal visit of Military planes to Israel making this exercise even more special.
The main goal for this large exercise is to exchange the knowledge and learn of all participating countries and combat units to improve their skills
The United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) participated with eight F-16CJ’s from 510th Fighter Squadron ‘Buzzards’ from Aviano. The Hellenic Air Force send four of their F-16C/D Block52 jets from 335 Mira ‘Tigers’ based at Araxos while the Polish Air Force send six F-16C/D from 3 and 6 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego based at Pozan. The French Air Force used five Mirage-2000D’s from Escadron de Chasse 1/3 based at Nancy Ochey and the Germans sent six of their Eurofighters from Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 73 normally based at Laage Air Base. The Italian Air Force used their 6 Stormo Tornado IDS/ECR fighter jets from Ghedi while the Indian Air Force used a single C-130J Hercules from 77 SQN, this Squadron is dedicated to supporting India’s Special Operations Forces ‘Garud’ who also participated in the ground part of the exercise. The ‘Garud’ Commando forces trained together with the Israel’s elite unit 669 combat search and rescue force but also with the Nevatim based 103 SQN ‘Elephants’ who is flying the C-130 Hercules as well.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) was present with a large contingent of fighter jets from units from all over the country. 133 SQN ‘Knights of the Twin Tail’ based at Tel Nov was present with 14 of their F-15A/B/C/D Eagles (some loaned from 106 SQN) but also six F-16C/D ‘Barak’ from 101 Squadron ‘First Fighter’ from Harzor Air Base participated, while 109 Squadron ‘Valley’ and 117 Squadron ‘First Jet’ all supported 115 Squadron ’Flying Dragon’ with some aircraft. From Hatzerim Air Base 107 Squadron was present with six of their magnificent F-16I ‘Sufa’ Fighters.
Besides fighter jets also some KC-707 tankers, C-130J Transporters and some Conformal Airborne Early Warning Gulfstreams from 122 Squadron ‘Nachshon’, all based at Nevatim Air Base, joined the training exercise as well.