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“Blue Guardian” – The World’s First International Drone Exercise

(July 12, 2021)

On July 12, 2021, the world’s first international drone exercise began with crews from the United States, Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. The two-week “Blue Guardian” exercise was led by the Israeli Air Force RPAV (Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle) operators at Palmachim Air Force Base.

“This exercise is of great significance to Israel and has a lot of international value,” said IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin. “The State of Israel is a pioneer in the field of RPAVs and the exercise serves as a platform for mutual learning.”

One of the exercise’s objectives is strengthening international cooperation and deepening the partnership between Israel and the participating nations. We’ve outlined several goals for the exercise – first, creating effective aerial scenarios to allow for a high-quality training exercise,” explained Lt. Col. L., commander of the leading squadron in the exercise – the 166th (“Fire Birds”), which operate the “Kochav” (Hermes 900) RPAV. “Second, we emphasized the personal connection with our counterparts: from interpersonal bonds between operators to providing our allies with a sense of comfort and security while adapting to their needs. And third, illustrating the IAF’s high standard that is manifested in our personnel’s dedication and in the professionalism and precision of the aerial mission.”

The “Kochav” (Hermes 900) RPAV

“Blue Guardian” is divided into two parts: the first week focused on training international crews to operate the Israeli “Zik” (Hermes 450) RPAV. The second week involves simulated combat between a coalition of allied nations against an enemy. During the second week, forces will fly in joint formations and cooperate with the IAF’s fighter and helicopter divisions as well as commando units.

Source: Israeli Air Force.

Photo: Tal Inbar, Attribution via Wikimedia Commons.