The Israel Air Force (IAF) plans to partake in several aerial drills abroad later this year in a bid to train its pilots for long-range flights, reported local daily The Jerusalem Post on Monday, reported Xinhua.
The air force will send F-16C fighter jets to the U.S. state of Nevada later this month for the Red Flag exercise at the Nellis Air Force Base, and meanwhile dispatch several C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to participate in the Rodeo 2009 competition at the McChord Air Force Base in the state of Washington, said the report.
In addition, the IAF will take part later this year in a joint aerial exercise with a NATO-member state, which is yet to be identified, added the report, quoting Israeli defense officials as saying that the overseas exercises would be used to drill long- range maneuvers.
The plans were disclosed on a day when Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview with ABC that Israel, as "a sovereign nation, " can make its own decisions relative to Iran, which Israel regards as its main security threat, and anyone else.
The Jewish state and its main ally, the United States, have long been accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the disguise of a civilian nuclear energy project and thus posing a great danger to the whole world, but Iran has firmly denied the charges.
Israel has said that diplomacy is its preferred way to solve the Iranian nuclear issue, while vowing that should diplomacy fail, it would use all means necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
In 2007, Israeli warplanes bombed a suspected nuclear site inside Syria. Last summer, over 100 IAF jets flew over Greece in an exercise widely seen as a test-run for a potential air raid on Iran's nuclear facilities.†