Commander Convention: Day Two
(Source: Israeli Air Force; issued May 24, 2018)
The Israeli Air Force offered over 20 foreign air force commanders a ride in its M-346 Lavi advanced jet trainers as part of the convention marking its 70th anniversary. (IAF photo)
Flying in the “Lavi” (M-346) aircraft over Israel, meeting Israel’s Prime Minister and getting acquainted with the IAF’s various aircraft and weapon systems - this is just a part of yesterday's events as part of the international air force commander convention occurring in Israel these days.

As part of the convention, which also marks the Israeli Air Force's 70th anniversary, air force commanders and senior officers from over 20 countries will arrive in Israel. Among the countries participating in the convention are the United States, UK, Germany, Canada, Greece, Poland, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Bulgaria, Brazil, France, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Vietnam and India.

"I think over the past two days, as a result of the operations we were allowed to participate in, we’ve made dramatic steps forward in improving our relationship, which is already at a great point”, said General Tod D. Walters, Commander of the US EUCOM (United States Air Force European Command). “Both in Europe and in the US, we are participating in a robust series of exercises with the great IAF, which I know will continue in the future. Each air force has challenge sets, and with each one of those challenge sets come different solutions. When you get together at a conference like this and exchange what your tactics and techniques and procedures are, you’re always learning. I look forward to many great moments together, side by side, soldier to soldier”.

In Israel’s Skies

The commanders flew in Israel’s skies in the “Lavi” (M-346), the IAF’s advanced trainer aircraft. “I was surprised to discover how similar flight languages are”, shared Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, Head of the IAF Headquarters. “Although each one of us was raised in a different geographical area, we all speak the same aerial language”.

From All Around the World

After the flight, the commanders arrived at an exhibition showing IAF aircraft, air defense systems and products of Israel’s defense industries. “I think that this is a very good occasion to meet each other, to speak not only about the history but also about the future”, said General Petr Hromek, Commander of the Czech Air Force. “It’s great to be here and celebrate 70 years of independence. It’s also unique, because in the beginning, we helped you establish your independence here in the region. We have our experience inside the NATO community, and you have your experience living in a complex operational area. It’s a good occasion to share experience with your country and your air force”.

General Karl Gruber, Commander of the Austrian Air Force, said: “The spirit of innovation is very important to us, and today we were exposed to the Israeli Air Force’s spirit of innovation. I think it’s a field where we can learn a lot, and gain a lot of ideas regarding the ways we can speed up innovation in our air force. Another field we can develop is our technological cooperation, seeing as we use Israeli equipment. It’s always good to learn with your partners instead of working with the systems on your own, and the Israeli Air Force is one of the best partners you could find”.

The Commander of the German Air Force, General Joachim Wundrak, said that he is expecting a wide-scale cooperation between the air forces in the future. “We feel honored to be invited for the 70th anniversary of Israel and the Israeli Air Force. We learn more from the Israeli Air Force than vice versa - the Israeli Air Force has been in combat operation since decades, while we have just learned about it”, said General Wundrak.

“Last year, we participated in an international exercise in Israel, and are planned to take part in 2019 as well. We would be proud if the Israeli Air Force would follow whatever invitation we send to take part in a German exercise, or any mutual training”.

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