This exercise is considered one of the most important exercises for the Heyl Ha'Avir (IAF, Israeli Air Force). It is the largest and most complex drill ever to be performed on own and foreign soil in the history of Israel, not only because of the recent escalations in the Middle East, but also for the different methods of training from the usual size of the participating forces and the combat scenario.
For the second year in a row, the IAF continues to train in offensive missions, especially to attack high-value and fortified targets that are protected from air defence units of all kinds, long and short range. Scramble Magazine reported earlier on the training of these types of offensive missions in exercises such as Blue Flag, Tri Lightning, Falcon Strike, Desert Eagle, Desert Falcon, Iniochos and Onisilos-Gedeon.
The month-long Chariots of Fire 2022 exercise, starting on 9 May 2022, prepared the Israeli armed forces for intense multi-arena combat in the air, at sea, on land and in the cyber arena. The scenario is a simulation of a multi-front war with threats to the north and south of Israel coming from countries near and far. After stability was regained by air defence units and reducing pressure by means of tactical attacks by fighter aircraft, the IAF shifted to the attack mode and exercised various Offensive Counter-Air (OCA) and deep strike missions. This included deployment of an entire battalion of special forces soldiers with air support by combat helicopters.
The aim of this exercise is to determine the actual capabilities of the participating units to carry out offensive missions within the hostile borders in precise synchronization for a certain period, which is very vital for the leadership of the Israeli Air Force to devise many of the necessary tactics to deal with future military scenarios by integrating between the different combat units.
As a part of Chariots of Fire, troops from the IAF, Navy and elite commando units simulated a war deep inside Lebanon. For this part of the exercise, called Agapinor 2022 (Beyond the Horizon), Israeli troops exercised in Cyprus from 29 May to 3 June 2022.
The exercise area included the mountainous heights and the southern coastal area of the Mediterranean country. Hundreds of soldiers and reservists from units across various military corps headed to Cyprus for a joint drill simulating war against Hezbollah deep inside enemy territory. Forces from the Cypriot National Guard joined the Israeli troops as well as several IAF aircraft.
According to Israeli media, 100 fighter and transport aircraft of the Israeli Air Force flew from Israel to Cyprus.
Infochart designed by Haytham Tarek / Info written by Mena Adel and Moataz Qutob
Photos by Babak Taghvaee