IDF, US postpone air exercise planned for this week
search

IDF, US postpone air exercise planned for this week

Israeli military says US Army asked for delay of several days to ‘sort out coordination issues’

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

F-35 fighter jets from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom take part in an aerial exercise over the Mediterranean Sea, on June 25, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)
F-35 fighter jets from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom take part in an aerial exercise over the Mediterranean Sea, on June 25, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday said it was delaying a joint air exercise with the United States that was supposed to begin Tuesday.

The military said the US requested the postponement of several days to “sort out coordination issues.” The IDF did not immediately elaborate on the nature of these issues.

The aerial exercise, in which F-35 fighter jets were due to take part, received special permission from the IDF to be held despite a general ban on international drills in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IDF said the exercise was due to take place entirely in the air, without in-person meetings on the ground between the two militaries.

The F-35 exercise comes weeks after the US and Israeli militaries called off two separate exercises due to the coronavirus pandemic, including one of their largest joint drills, the biennial Juniper Cobra.

The military initially said the F-35 exercise would begin Tuesday afternoon and last through Thursday afternoon. It was not immediately clear when it would be held.

The military said the exercise was not in response to any specific threat but was part of its general 2020 training schedule.

Earlier this month, the IDF called off the Juniper Cobra exercise — one of its largest international drills — in which thousands of American and Israeli soldiers were due to take part around the world.

The Israeli military also preemptively called off an exercise between American paratroopers stationed out of Italy — one of the countries that has been hardest hit by the disease — and IDF Ground Forces.

read more:
comments