For the first time ever, Israeli military aircraft are flying in the UK for a series of joint exercises.

Britain’s Royal Air Force is hosting “Exercise Cobra Warrior”, a multi-national coordination effort with US, German, Italian and Israeli air force crews. The five nations possess some of the most advanced fighter jets in the world.

The training, based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, will last until 20 September. Around 50 aircraft of various types will take part in Cobra Warrior, which will be the first time the Israeli Air Force has flown jets in UK airspace.

The RAF describes the exercise as “high-intensity large force tactical training”.

The exercise “develops the tactical leadership of aircrew and supporting elements within a complex air environment” and allows the teams to develop, plan and practice tactics and procedures during war-like scenarios.

The Exercise Director, Group Captain Robert Barrett said: “The RAF welcomes the participation of our Air Force colleagues from other nations and we welcome the opportunity to train alongside all of the participating nations’ forces on this challenging exercise.”

Israeli Air Force Head of Training, Brigadier General Amnon Ein-Dar, said the Israeli Air Force (IAF) was “happy and proud to participate in the ‘Cobra Warrior’ exercise.”

“This is the first time IAF fighter aircraft are deployed to and flying in Britain. The deployment will help improve IAF readiness and capability. We view this exercise as the highest standard of training, an excellent opportunity for mutual learning and bolstering cooperation between partners”, he added.

The UK-Israel military partnership is strengthening all the time with the two countries spending hundreds of millions of pounds purchasing each other’s defence equipment.

This is also not the first time the two air forces have collaborated. Earlier in the year, an RAF helicopter team visited Israel to train with Israeli crews in search and rescue operations. Last year, several Israeli combat pilots took part in a joint training seminar with RAF Typhoon pilots, and in 2017 senior RAF personnel toured Israeli bases.

Next year the military partnership looks set to solidify further as Israel play hosts to RAF pilots taking part in “Blue Flag 2020”, Israel’s largest international air exercise. It will be the first time that RAF jets will have trained in Israeli airspace.

We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.

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