Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Israeli fighter planes returned home Friday after their first deployment to Britain for air exercises with planes of the United States and European countries.
F-15 planes of the Israel Air Force flew in combat simulations with those of the United States, Germany, Italy and Britain in Exercise Cobra Warrior, a 20-day annual event at the RAF base in Waddington. It was Israel's first participation in the aerial drill and its first time in British airspace. Although the two forces have worked together extensively, the visit by the IAF marks a shift toward a more open relationship with the RAF.
Over 50 aircraft, including support aircraft, participated in the event. Israel sent seven F-15 planes, as well as a KC-707 tanker and a C-130J Hercules cargo plane used for logistics.
"It's an important drill because we had a wonderful opportunity to take our teams and have them train in areas where they are not used to, something which is very important for war," Brig.-Gen. Amnon Ein-Dare said. "It was very special and important exercise for us, first of all in the historical dimension. The Israeli Air Force actually had its roots from the British Air Force, so there is a special opportunity to close the circle by flying in England 70 years later."
Planes from Saudi Arabia participated in the event in 2015, and Germany air force attended in 2016.