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Israel Air Force launches 1st international drone drill

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

An Israeli Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicle flies during an international exercise, dubbed Blue Guardian, which launched on July 12, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
An Israeli Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicle flies during an international exercise, dubbed Blue Guardian, which launched on July 12, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Air Force launches a first-of-its-kind international drone exercise on Monday, hosting pilots from five other countries, the military says.

The drill, called Blue Guardian, is scheduled to last two weeks, during which time the foreign teams will fly Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The teams will simulate various scenarios, including ground troop support, reconnaissance and intelligence collections missions, and cooperation with various forces in the air,” the Israel Defense Forces says.

Teams from the United States, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom are taking part in the drill.

The IDF says the exercise, the largest drone-focused drill ever, has “strategic importance” because of the air force’s cooperation with foreign countries.

“The State of Israel is a pioneer in the field of UAVs. This exercise presents a platform for mutual study and growth. The exercise has national importance and influence in establishing the air force on the international level,” Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin says.

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