Pilots from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fly alongside one another as part of a Greek air force exercise that kicked off on Monday.

The Jewish state does not have formal diplomatic ties with the UAE, though Israeli officials regularly boast of improving relations and military contacts with Gulf states.

The United States and Italy will also take part in the this year’s Iniohos exercise, the Hellenic Air Force announced on its website.

The 11-day drill will consist of “complex air operations” and also include naval and ground forces, according to the HAF.

The symbol of a Greek aerial exercise, in which Israel, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Italy will take part, on March 27, 2017. (Hellenic Air Force)

The symbol of a Greek aerial exercise, in which Israel, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Italy will take part, on March 27, 2017. (Hellenic Air Force)

The annual exercise, which runs through April 6, will not be the first time Israeli and UAE pilots fly in the same military exercise.

In August 2016, the two countries’ air forces also met at the US Air Force’s Red Flag exercise in Nevada, along with representatives from Pakistan.

Through such exercises abroad, Israeli pilots are meant to gain experience operating in conditions unlike those inside the geographically tiny Israel. Flying alongside foreign air forces also requires Israeli air teams to learn how to communicate in languages other than Hebrew.

In addition, the international exercises present a strategic opportunity for Israel to create and improve diplomatic relations with foreign nations.

Though there are no formal ties with the United Arab Emirates, there was a thaw in Israel’s relationship with the Gulf state. In November, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold visited Bahrain in order to open its first diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi, which is part of the UAE.