The Israel Defense Forces will hold a large-scale exercise over the Mediterranean in the spring with dozens of aircraft simulating a strike against Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report Wednesday.
The unsourced report from the Kan broadcaster came as Israeli officials have stepped up their rhetoric against the Islamic Republic, including threatening to take unilateral action against Tehran.
According to the Kan report, the drill will be one of the largest ever held by the Israeli Air Force and will include dozens of aircraft, including the F-15, F-35, and F-16 fighters, Gulfstream G550 spy planes, and refueling jets.
The planes will conduct the exercise far out over the Mediterranean Sea to simulate the distance — over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) — that the aircraft would need to travel in a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
This would not be the first time that the IAF has conducted exercises at these distances. Earlier this year, Israeli jets took part in a Greek-led exercise over the Mediterranean Sea.
The exercise is scheduled to be held in roughly six months, according to Kan.
The IDF did not immediately comment on the report.
Talks between Iran and world powers over curbing Tehran’s nuclear program resumed last week after an extended freeze. Though Israeli politicians have said they would support a significantly bolstered pact, they have also stressed the need for a credible military threat against Iran as a “Plan B.”
In January, army chief Aviv Kohavi announced that he was instructing the military to draw up fresh plans for a strike against Iran’s nuclear program. The IDF received billions of shekels of additional funding to prepare for such an attack as part of the recently passed national budget.
Last month, Kohavi told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the army “is accelerating operational planning and preparedness to deal with Iran and the military nuclear threat.”
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