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Israel Defense Forces: Greece-U.S.-Israel Joint Military Training

(Updated March 2014)

In 2011, Israel, Greece, and the United States launched "Noble Dina," an annual joint military exercise between the countries' naval and air forces

Due to the fraying of diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey, their decade-long annual naval exercise - code named "Reliant Mermaid" - was cancelled and in its place Israel and the United States invited the Greek military to substitute for Turkey. With Greece on board, the exercise was renamed "Noble Dina" and the overall mission of the training was changed as well - from search and rescue exercises to attack & defend scenarios that included repelling enemy assaults, anti-submarine warfare, and aircraft operations.

The first annual exercise took place in April 2011 off the shores of the Greek Castellorizo/Megisti island complex and involved a number of aircraft, submarines, helicopters, and various other naval vessels from the three countries.

In 2012, the exercise was renewed amid tensions that had continued to build between Turkey and both Greece and Israel.  Additionally, the Greek and Israeli air forces were set to conduct training to simulate repelling an attack on offshore natural gas and oil rigs as both countries had recently hit big deposits in their areas of the Mediterranean Sea. According to a report published in Greece, part of the 2012 exercises were to take place off the coast of Turkey, near the Greek island Mais. The exercise was then to continue off the southern coast of Cyprus before concluding in Haifa port.

The continuation of "Noble Dina" in 2012 comes as Greek-Israel relations have been rapidly strengthening. In January 2012, the two countries signed a defense cooperation agreement and in February Israel Air Force chief Amir Eshel visited Greece where he met with top Greek officials, including the country's defense minister, chief of staff and air force commander.

In March 2014, elements from the three countries joined again to renew the "Noble Dina" training manuevers. The training featured extensive drills for the naval and air forces and also featured a simulation of an “Iranian scenario” which included practicing defending Israeli ports from attack, and implementing a “swarm” tactic where a large vessel is overcome by many smaller boats.

Sources: YnetNews (April 1, 2012); Global Security; Bosphorous Naval News (March 29, 2012);; Times of Israel (March 25, 2014)