Royal Air Force F-35B Lightnings have participated in an exercise with their counterparts from the United States Air Force and the Israeli Air Force.
The one-day drill, dubbed Tri-Lightning, took place on June 25 over the eastern Mediterranean Sea and was a counter air exercise involving active and passive air defence operations.
The U.S. Air Force F-35As flew from Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE, the Royal Air Force F-35Bs flew from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, and the Israeli Air Force F-35Is of 140 ‘Golden Eagle’ Squadron flew from Nevatim Air Base, Israel. The F-35s from the three nations played as blue force players in this exercise while a variety of other aircraft played the ‘red’ aggressor roles, simulating realistic combat situations between the F-35s and previous generation fighters.
The commanding officer of 617 Sqn, RAF, Wg Cdr John Butcher said: “Tri-Lightning was an exercise which had been planned for months, and it provided an outstanding opportunity for the squadron to operate and learn from our fellow F-35 community,” said U.K. “In addition it allowed us to share and gain valuable experience that we will be able to exploit during future training and potentially operational deployments, whether embarked on the Queen Elizabeth or from overseas airbases.”
Brig Gen. Amnon Ein-Dar, Head of the IAF’s Training & Doctrine Division said: “This is the first international F-35 exercise, which mirrors the tight collaboration between the participating air forces. The cooperation between Israel, the United States and Britain helps us work towards our common interests and helps develop new capabilities in the Middle East”.