Israeli and French aircraft held a joint aerial exercise this week over Israel’s skies that simulated airstrikes and combating aerial threats, the Israeli Air Force said Tuesday.
During the drill, dubbed “Eastern Breeze,” four French Navy Rafale fighter jets flew alongside IAF F-16i aircraft over Israel’s skies.
The French aircraft arrived on a Navy carrier strike group in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Israeli military said in a statement that the aircrews “flew ‘wing-to-wing’ while practicing joint strikes and counteracting aerial threats in an effort to share knowledge and benefit from one another.”
“The exercise was an important milestone in the development of the strategic cooperation between the IAF and the [French military] and improved the forces’ readiness,” it added.
The Israel Defense Forces said the drill was part of a series of international exercises that have taken place this year. Last week, the military held a joint drill with the US, simulating strikes against Iran and its regional terror proxies.
The last time the French military held a joint drill with the IAF was in early 2020.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi visited France in September to discuss the threat of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group.
Paris and Beirut have historically close relations, as Lebanon was ruled by France for over two decades in the early 20th century.
At the time of Kohavi’s trip, tensions were high between Israel and the Iran-backed Lebanese terror group, as the latter has threatened Israeli gas installations amid US-mediated talks over a maritime border dispute, which has since been resolved.