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Exercise Blue Wings 2020
Latest update: September 2020
Israeli air force visits Germany
On Monday September 17, 2020 history was written with the arrival of Israeli air force (IAF) jets in Germany. Six Israeli air force (IAF) F-16C/D fighters, designated “Barak” in IAF service, arrived at Nörvenich air base home to Taktische Luftgeschwader 31 (TaktLwG 31) "Boelcke" close to the city of Cologne. With the F-16’s also a Gulfstream G-V and G550 arrived. Support was provided by two KC-707’s refueling the fighters during their flight as well as a KC-130H Hercules. The transport and tanker aircraft all returned to Israel. In the period prior to the arrival three Hercules flights brought personnel and equipment.

Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, Chief of the German Air Force invited his Israeli colleague to visit Germany to participate in exercises Blue Wings 2020 and MAGDAY. TaktLwG 31 send up its Eurofighter EF-2000 to welcome their Israeli colleagues. A two-ship joined formation with the F-16C’s who were the first to arrive. Lt. Gen. Gerhartz departed Nörvenich with a three-ship flight to welcome the commander of the IAF Major General Amikam Norkin who arrived in the G-V. Both generals arrived in formation over the air base with the formation then splitting up to land.
Blue Wings 2020 and MAGDAY
The joint flying operations commenced on September 18 with a commemoration flight over WWII concentration camp Dachau and continued to former German air base Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich. In 1972 Israeli athletes participating in the Olympic Games held at Munich were taken hostage during a terrorist attack. The liberation attempt resulted in a bloody end with 11 athletes not surviving the attack.

Exercise Blue Wings commenced directly after the commemoration flight and ended on September 21. It saw the F-16’s and the G550 flying together with the EF-2000’s. The G-V left Nörvenich on Wednesday after all official events were concluded. For the Israeli pilots, the first week was about getting acquainted with the German airspace. Contrary to Israel the European airspace is dense with specially reserved air spaces for military training flights.

The German air force visited the Blue Flag exercise held in Israel twice. Here German pilots had the opportunity to learn from the IAF whose is considered among the best air forces in the world. Blue Wings was also used to take the partnership and close friendship between the two countries to a new level

From September 24 – 27 exercise Multinational Air Group Days more known as MAGDAY took place. MAGDAY is run four times a year by the German Air Force. The exercise is rotated through the German air force bases and this week was hosted by TaktLwG 31. Aimed at interoperability other NATO countries join the exercise. Depending on the air force participating they will either operate from a German base or from their home base. The Hungarian air force send four of its Saab JAS-39 Gripen to Schleswig Jagel air base (TaktLwG 51 " Immelmann"). Participants can also fly their mission from their own bases which often applies to the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Air Force and United States Air Force Europe & Air Forces Africa. Exercise MAYDAY saw air combat, air to ground and evasion of enemy defence missions flown.
Exercise participants
Country: Aircraft: No. aircraft: Squadron / Wing: Airbase: Comments:
Germany EF-2000   TaktLwG 31 Nörvenich Blue Wings 2020, MAGDAY
Hungary JAS-39C   1. Vadászrepülö Század Kecskemét MAGDAY
Israel F-16C Barak 3 101 squadron Hatzor Blue Wings 2020, MAGDAY
  F-16D Barak 3 105 squadron Hatzor Blue Wings 2020, MAGDAY
  G550 Nanchshon Aitam 1 122 squadron Nevatim Blue Wings 2020, MAGDAY
  G-V Nachshon Shavit 1     September 17.
Total   8
Support aircraft
Country: Aircraft: No. aircraft: Squadron / Wing: Airbase: Comments:
Israel C-130J.30 Shimshon   103 squadron Nevatim  
  KC-707 Re'em 2 120 squadron Nevatim September 17.
  (K)C-130H Karnaf 1 131 squadron Nevatim September 17.
Total   3
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