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Air Force Commanders Convention Release date 21.05.2018
This upcoming week, over 20 air force commanders from around the world will arrive in Israel and participate in a convention commemorating the IAF’s 70th anniversary. As part of the convention, the commanders will fly “Lavi” (M-346) aircraft and meet the IDF Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister of Israel and the country’s president
Carmel Stern

This week, the International Air Force Commander Convention, led by IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, will commence. Senior air force commanders from over 20 countries will participate in the convention, which commemorates the IAF’s 70th anniversary. “This is an opportunity for us to open a window for many countries to see Israel, its views, its history, its aerial capabilities, its military capabilities, and the high quality of its people”, stated IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin. “Just having over 20 air force commanders in charge of strategic forces arrive at Israel at this time is a display of support for Israel”.

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Among the countries participating in the convention are the United States, UK, Germany, Canada, Greece, Poland, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Bulgaria, Brazil, France, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Vietnam and India. “These new relationships will assist us in establishing our strategic infrastructure. They will improve Israel's strategic standing and its ability to operate in a legitimate manner, even during a crisis”, added the IAF Commander. “This convention is key for relationships that will improve with the following years. Such conventions occur every year in different places over the globe. We participate in these conventions and learn from the different countries”.

A Bridge to Cooperation
The air force commanders will participate in lectures and reviews surrounding IDF and IAF strategic topics. These will include a historical review of the IAF presented by the IAF Commander; a lecture regarding the “fifth-generation” of aircraft given by the CEO of Lockheed-Martin, Marillyn Hewson; a lecture by the Multinational Force and Observers, operating in the Israel-Egypt border; and a lecture given by the commander of the USAFE (United States Air Force Europe). Later, the commanders will meet IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

Photography: Celia Garion

In addition, the commanders will receive a tour of Tel Nof AFB, from which they will take off for a combined aerial exercise using “Lavi” (M-346) aircraft – the Flight Academy’s advanced instructional aircraft. Afterwards, they will meet the Prime Minister and receive a tour of an exhibition displaying IAF aircraft and Israeli defense industry equipment. Eventually, they will arrive at Jerusalem, where they will meet the president and visit the Pilot’s Mount, the IAF’s main memorial site.

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“Over 20 air force commanders arrived from around the world for three days of mutual learning and enrichment, including combined lectures, drills and strategic dialogues”, said Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, Chief of Air Staff. “The convention’s goal is to position the aerial force as a source of strength and regional stability. The convention is meant to improve the IAF’s capabilities and present its innovative and technological endeavors alongside its legacy. It is a good platform for strengthening the military relationship between the air force commanders and between the countries. The united frontline against mutual enemies builds a bridge to international cooperation”.

A Tradition of Cooperation
Exactly 20 years ago, in 1998, the first air force commander convention was held in Israel in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Since then, Israel has seen wars, operations and developments in all theatres. Today, on Israel’s 70th anniversary, the IAF invited international air force commanders to this convention.

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The IAF has a tradition of cooperating with other air forces. Last month, “Re’em” (Boeing 707) aircraft participated in the US Air Force’s banner training exercise, “Red Flag” 2018, held in Alaska. In November 2017, Uvda AFB hosted the “Blue Flag” international training exercise which included the United States, France, Greece, Poland, Germany, Italy and India. In March, the IDF held its largest international training exercise yet, the “Juniper Cobra” 2018. Aerial defense forces from the IAF and the US Air Force participated. During the same month, an Israeli delegation of “Shimshon” (C-130J) aircraft participated in a combined training exercise in India. The IAF routinely holds combined training exercise with the Hellenic and Cypriot air forces as well.