By Dario Leone
May 24 2017
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Israeli Air Force Red Air gave the Blue forces a tough time during defensive missions to protect Blue forces and installations

Twelve F-15Es assigned to 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, England recently completed biannual training in Israel in support of exercise Juniper Falcon. As told by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, in the article U.S. Forces complete Juniper Falcon 17-2, the Strike Eagles flew missions with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) accomplishing training on Defense Counter Air (DCA), Interdiction, Large Force Exercise (LFE), and Electronic Warfare (EW) range work.

The same exercise, which ran from May 7-17, also saw two C-130Js from the 37th Airlift Squadron from Ramstein Air Base, Germany and Air Calvary soldiers attached to the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Vicenza, Italy performing airlift missions with the IAF that included low level flying in formation, airdrop of cargo and personnel from the U.S and host nation forces, assault landing, and night vision goggle missions.

Noteworthy according to Times of Israel IAF Red Air gave the Blue forces a tough time during defensive missions to protect Blue forces and installations. Actually the US and Israeli Air Forces dominated the Jewish state’s southern airspace during the exercise, staging dogfights and bombing runs against an enemy nation called Stallion.

The Stallion forces were, in fact, Israeli forces. The air force’s Flying Dragon Squadron, also known as the Red Squadron, played the role of enemy aircraft in the drill.

During the exercise the Flying Dragon Squadron F-16 fighter jets simulated not only cutting edge fighters like the Sukhoi Su-35 and the MiG-29, but also the nimble Cold War-Era MiG-21. Moreover the Stallion forces used SA-2, SA-6 and SA-22 anti-aircraft batteries against the US-Israeli coalition forces.

Juniper Falcon 17 represents the combination of several bi-lateral component/ Israeli Defense Force exercises that have been executed annually since 2011. These exercises were combined to increase joint training opportunities and capitalize on transportation and cost efficiencies gained by aggregating forces. Juniper Falcon, together with Juniper Cobra (held during opposite years), is part of the annual exercise continuum between USEUCOM and the IDF.

Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew / U.S. Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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