Aug. 17 (UPI) -- For the first time, the air forces of Israel and Germany began a two-week joint exercise over Germany on Monday.
Six IAF F-16C/D "Barak" fighter planes of the Israel Air Force, two "Re'em" Boeing 707 aircraft known as "Re'em," and two Gulfstream G-550 surveillance planes known as "Nachshon-Eitam" arrived at Germany's Norvenich base, marking the first time that IAF aircraft landed on German soil, Israeli officials said.
"As part of the exercise, Israeli and German aircraft will perform a flyby of the Dachau concentration camp and the Fürstenfeldbruck airport," an IAF statement said over the weekend.
The air base, near Munich, was the site of the deaths of seven of 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Summer Olympics.
"The IAF will participate in the exercise for the first time as Germany's guests," said an IAF commander identified as Lt.Col. A. "This is an opportunity to showcase our abilities and learn about NATO's flight and training technique."
Beyond the historical significance, simulated dogfights, ground-to-air combat, surface-to-air missile threats and other combat scenarios will be practiced. Although multinational training exercises remain common, they have been reduced this year by concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This training is very effective and unique, as we train in an unfamiliar environment and territory," noted Lt. Col. A. "We will fly in a different environment than we are used to in Israel, with different flight platforms and flight rules."
"The flights will be carried out using NATO's combat doctrine as opposed to ours, which creates a challenge for the pilot and weapons systems operator in the cockpit," Lt. Col. A said.