A group of Israeli air force pilots is supposed to participate in a three-week training exercise in the United States, which will reportedly also include Pakistani pilots, Israeli news agency Haaretz reported on Wednesday.
The Red Flag exercise which will feature the F-16 fighter plane is set to begin in about two weeks in Nevada.
Haaretz also cited online reports claiming that the United Arab Emirates would also participate in the exercise. The
Israeli military refused to comment when Haaretz inquired about the reports suggesting Pakistan’s and UAE’s participation in the exercise, neither of which has diplomatic relations with Israel.
The Nellis Air Force Base website has yet to disclose which air forces will be participating in the upcoming exercise. However, aerial enthusiast websites reported that teams from Spain and the U.A.E. would be taking part.
Spain’s Ministry of Defense reported that the Spanish Air Force had sent teams to the exercise last weekend. Pakistani media outlets also reported that Pakistani F-16s were en route to the United States for the same reason.
The Aviationist, a website devoted to reports on military aviation, stated that Pakistani F-16s had landed in Portugal 10 days ago, on their way to the exercise.
According to the website, the Pakistani aircraft will take part in both the Red Flag and Green Flag exercises. Both Pakistan and the U.A.E. have taken part in the Red Flag in the past.
Although Israel has no official diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, it recently opened a mission in Abu Dhabi, ostensibly to uphold ties with the United Nations’ International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that is headquartered there. Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold also visited the U.A.E. capital in 2015.
“The IAF routinely trains in Israel and abroad in order to keep operationally prepared for various scenarios,” the Israeli Defense Force spokesman said. “Red Flag is a high quality and unique exercise. Once the IAF was invited to participate, it accepted.”