The US Air Force has sent six F-15 fighter jets to an Israeli airbase for a temporary deployment that will involve joint drills with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) as the two countries continue to step up military cooperation.
The F-15s are being sent to the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel under US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) as part of a program that deploys US aircraft to allied bases instead of US ones.
According to The Times of Israel, the IAF said that the F-15s would participate in exercises with Israel’s fleet of F-35 stealth fighters this week that will simulate strikes “deep inside enemy territory,” suggesting the drills will simulate attacks on Iran.
The US and Israel held joint aerial exercises over the Mediterranean Sea that simulated bombing on Iran as tensions between Washington and Tehran are soaring. The drills and the deployment of F-15s to Israel come after the head of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) visited Washington and said after the trip that joint US-Israeli military operations would be “significantly expanded.”
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi also said he was pressing the US to step up plans for joint attacks on Iran. While the Pentagon admitted in its recent Nuclear Posture Review that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon, US officials have been threatening military action as a “last resort” to prevent Tehran from acquiring a bomb.