Blue Wings 2020 exercise, arrivals

Israeli F-16 Barak lands at Nörvenich Air Base, Germany.

On 17 August 2020, the Israeli Air Force deployed ten aircraft at Nörvenich Air Base, near Cologne, in the west of Germany, to take part in the first joint exercise with the German Air Force on German soil. Nörvenich is the home of the Luftwaffe's Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 31 (Tactical Air Wing 31) "Boelcke" which flies the Eurofighter.

The drill, called Blue Wings 2020, will run until August 28. For the occasion, photoreporters Joris van Boven and Alex van Noye were on the field to take pictures and make a video of the arrivals. 

This exercise represents a very interesting opportunity for spotters around Europe as the IAF fighters wear an appealing camouflage livery that differs from the typical total gray look of the NATO fleets.

The Israeli detachment consists of six F-16 "Barak" fighter jets - three each from 101 "The First Fighter" Squadron and 105 "The Scorpion" Squadron at Hatzor AFB, two B707 "Re'em" tanker aircraft and two special-missions Gulfstream G550 aircraft from 122 Squadron at Nevatim AFB. As shown in the video below, one of the G550s is equipped with Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) system - comprising of conformal antenna arrays on both sides of the forward fuselage - while the other is outfitted for Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). In addition, an IAF C-130 delivered Israeli personnel and equipment.

The Israeli planes were greeted in the air by two GAF Eurofighters who reached them at the border of German airspace and then escorted to Nörvenich AFB. The first image below shows the arrival of the joint formation.
Images, Video: Alex van Noye

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