After 55 years, Israeli Navy returns to French coast for joint exercise

After 55 years, Israeli Navy returns to French coast for joint exercise

Drill with French fleet includes simulated attacks by fighter jets, rescue of ‘casualties’ by helicopters

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Israeli Navy completed an extended exercise with the French military off the southern French coast Saturday, its first time conducting such a drill in over 50 years, the army said.

Two Israeli warships, the INS Kidon and INS Eilat, took part in the exercise off the coast of Toulon in southern France.

The drill, which began in late June, included a large variety of scenarios, the army said, including “cooperation with helicopters, firing cannons, training with fighter jets to simulate missiles fired at the troops’ ships, a mass casualty event, the rescue of casualties and more.”

It was the Israeli Navy’s first exercise in French waters since 1963, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The head of the Israeli Navy, Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit, met with the head of the French fleet, Admiral Christophe Prazuck, during the exercise.

“In the current age, in which there are many revolutions and changes, the view of the Israeli Navy needs to be global,” Sharvit said during the meeting.

“Therefore, the joint exercise with the French fleet, which gave both sides knowledge and new, meaningful capabilities, represents another turning point in strengthening the navy from the standpoint of its international activities,” Sharvit said.

In addition to the exercise, the French Navy has sent its Dixmude helicopter carrier to Israel’s Haifa port, where it will dock from July 7 to 11, “as part of the cooperation between the two countries’ navies,” the French embassy said.

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