Blue Wings 2020: first joined German/Israeli exercise on German soil

On 17 August 2020, the first joint exercise between the air forces of Germany and Israel took place on German soil. At Nörvenich Air Base to be precise. Goal of the exercise was to continue enhancing the Israeli Air Force’s capabilities, maintain its readiness during various scenarios, and to continue strengthening its bonds and cooperation with allied air forces. Part of the exercise was a combined German/Israeli fly by over Dachau concentration camp, in memory of the Holocaust victims and over Fürstenfeldbruck airport, in memory of the 11 Israeli Olympic delegation members that were killed in the 1972 Olympics terrorist attack in Munich.

Six ‘Barak’ F-16C/Ds fighters and a ‘Nachshon-Eitam’ Gulfstream G-550 Airborne Early Warning platform took part in the twee week exercise. Transport and refueling was provided by ‘Re’em’ Boeing 707s, but also several ‘Karnaf’ C-130 were involved for delivery and pick-up services. During the exercise several scenarios were flown: dogfighting, ground-to-air combat, handling surface-to-air missile threats, and other combat scenarios in unfamiliar territory.  The flights were carried out using NATO’s combat doctrine as opposed to the what the Isreali’s themselves are used to in Israel, which created a challenge for both the pilots and Weapons Systems Operators. The F-16s were flown by pilots of 101 ‘First Fighter’ and 105 ‘Scorpion’ squadrons, that are based at Hatzor Air Base, which lays about 50 km’s west of Jeruzalem. The Gufstream belongs to 122 Squadron, based at Nevatim Air Base, approximately 70 km’s south of Jeruzalem.

Recce Reports spent a day at the fence of Nörvenich Air Base to watch the operations. Security was tight during the exercise, but aircraft spotters were free to take shots of the aircraft that are rarely seen in this part of the world. All six F-16s and the Gulfstream that day joined the missions, together with the EF2000 Eurofighters from Nörvenichs own Tactical Air Wing 31 ‘Boelcke’.