Israel said its air force held a joint military exercise with the United States Air Forces Central Command for the second time in 2020. The so-called "Enduring Lightning 2" exercise took place in southern Israel on 2 August 2020. The army said that the exercise was held in accordance with the guidelines of the Israeli Health Ministry, with planning and debriefing done at a distance and through digital means.
  1. U.S. Air Force Central Command and the Israeli Air Force conducted the exercise "Enduring Lightning II" on Aug. 2, 2020 in the skies over southern Israel. It is the second joint exercise between the two countries involving the F-35.
  2. The IAF's 140th Squadron, which operates the "Adir" (F-35I) fighter jet, trained alongside the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing’s 421st Fighter Squadron and 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. 
  3. The 421st FS operates the F-35A Lightning II and the 908th EARS flies the KC-10 Extender, which is an air refueling platform.
  4. The IAF 122nd Squadron also participated in the exercise. The squadron operates the "Nachshon" aircraft and is responsible for conducting air traffic control.
  5. The F-35, which is an advanced fifth generation fighter, is able to engage both aerial and ground threats. During the exercise, all specialties of the participants were needed from command and control to air refueling to engaging targets in order to neutralize the threat in each proposed scenario.  
  6. The two air forces maintain close cooperation, including mutual learning and sharing of lessons learned. 
  7. This exercise illustrates the close relationship between the air forces and military echelons and enhances the cooperation of knowledge and capabilities of the F-35 and the IAF's operational abilities.
  8. USAFCENT delivers dominant coalition air power to secure and stabilize the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.   
  9. The US and the Israeli air forces maintain close cooperation, including in training and mutual learning.
  10. The exercise was held amidst tensions along Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria, sparked by the killing of a fighter with Hezbollah, a Lebanese Iran-backed armed group, in an apparent Israeli airstrike in Syria in July.