Amid Health Crisis, US, Israel Conduct Joint F-35 Drill
Israeli and American forces have conducted a joint F-35 military exercise, a drill previously postponed due to concerns over the possible spread of the coronavirus. Enduring Lightning was one of the Jewish state’s first international exercises to test its fleet of the US-made stealth jets, a program that became operational in 2017. “In the exercise, which was held in southern Israel, the Israeli and American fifth-generation, advanced F-35 fighter jets simulated scenarios in which they had to deal with both aerial threats and varying strategic threats from the ground,” an Israel Defense Forces statement said. It added that the countries’ personnel had abided by social distancing regulations by communicating and interacting remotely through shared in-air systems and video conferencing. “Alongside our concern for our service members’ health, the air force is continuing to preserve its full operational fitness … out of the critical need to proceed with our mission: defending the skies of the State of Israel, in the day-to-day and during emergencies,” the IDF statement said. The exercise was, however, cut from an originally scheduled three days down to one.