With the words;
“ On behalf of the German Airforce, it’s an honour for me to welcome the Israeli Airforce entering German airspace for the first time in history “
pronounced by Lt. General Ingo Gerhatsz , flying a german Eurofighter, directed to General Amikam Norkin flying in a Israeli Airforce G550, history was made on the 17th of August 2020.
For the first time in history Israeli combat aircraft entered German Airspace and landed at Norvenich airbase, Germany to participate in the Blue Wing and MAGDAY exercise. Norvenich Airbase is hosting the Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 31 (TLG31), flying the Eurofighter.
Six F-16’s, three F-16C’s and three F-16D’s, belonging to the 101 and 105 squadron, 2 B707’s and 2 G550 were temporarily deployed at Norvenich for two weeks to take part in the exercises Blue Wings 2020 and MAGDAY.
On 8th of august, a formation led by a IAF G500 with two Israeli F-16’s and two German Air Force Eurofighters carried out a flyover of the Dachau concentration camp, in memory of the Holocaust victims, and will then fly over the “Fürstenfeldbruck” Airport close to Munich, in memory of the 11 Israeli Olympic delegation members that were murdered in the 1972 Olympics terrorist attack.
“After the crime against humanity that was the Shoah, it is a moving sign of our friendship today that we are flying side by side with the Israeli Air Force for the first time in our history,” Lt. General Ingo Gerhartz, the head of Germany’s Air Force, said in a statement.
The historical significance was highlighted by Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, the Israeli Air Force’s commanding officer, who noted that for many of his fighters, past links to Germany were personal and tragic.
“Many I.A.F. fighters are grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and in the ’60s and ’70s of the last century, half of the I.A.F.’s pilots were Holocaust survivors themselves and yet we believe this is the right thing to do,” he said at a ceremony last week.
Blue Wing 2020 gave the Israeli pilots a chance to train in unfamiliar surroundings and will include simulated dogfights, air-to-ground battles and missile threats, a spokesperson of the Israeli airforce stated.
Israeli pilots also took part in aerial maneuvers with Germany and other NATO members in the second week during the deployment, called MAGDAY. For this exercise this exercise the F-16’s got refueled by Israeli airforce B707 and supported with a Gulfstream 550 from the 122 squadron.
Four MAGDAY ( Multinational Air Group day) events are usually scheduled a year and German hosts them as the Framework Nation for the project. However, due the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the exercise serials to two in 2020; a first MAGDAY event took place in June with participants from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
The focus of the MAGDAYs that concluded on August 27 was on establishing air superiority in an area by engaging a fictitious opponent’s ground-based air defence systems. Israel is a NATO Partner country under the Mediterranean Dialogue programme.
The focus of the MAGDAYs that concluded on August 27 was on establishing air superiority in an area by engaging a fictitious opponent’s ground-based air defence systems. For the Hungarian JAS-39 Gripens it was the fourth participation in the MAGDAYs. Five Gripen fighters deployed to Jagel in northern Germany to fly missions out of the German Air Base hosted by the German Tactical Air Wing 51 “Immelmann”. During one phase of the exercise the Hungarian Gripens took off to a temporary segregated training area above the North Sea where they met Israeli F-16s and German Eurofighters flying in from Nörvenich and six Tornado from Tactical Air Wing at Büchel for aerial drills.
The Multinational air groups are combined air task forces; they constitute the basis for NATO operations and help further improve the military cooperation within the alliance and with partners. Israel is a good example of how alligned non-NATO members can add to NATO tactics, techniques and procedures.
Germany and Israel have stepped up their military cooperation in recent years, with the German Airforce taking part two times in Blue Flag exercies held in the Israeli Negev desert. With the recent deployment at Norvenich, Germany and Israel are on their way to strenghten their cooperation like its never been before to operate side by side again in the future.