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Cyprus air defence tested by Israeli jets

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The National Guard’s air defence system’s operational readiness was successfully tested during the military exercise Onisilos-Gideon 2021, an annual defence cooperation programme between Cyprus and Israel.

“The annual exercise proves the upgraded level of training and operational readiness of the National Guard,” Cyprus’ Defence Ministry said.

“It also sends clear messages that Cyprus, which is in an especially sensitive region, with the help and cooperation of friends and neighbouring countries plays a significant role in handling current security issues and asymmetric threats,” it added.

The two-day exercise concluded on Tuesday with Israeli fighter jets flying over Republic of Cyprus territory.

It was directed and coordinated by the National Guard General Staff Air Force Command in cooperation with the Israeli Air Force.

The exercise included land and airspace manoeuvres involving drills of anti-aircraft units at regular arms control processes and information transfer, air defence auditors’ training in liability coverage area procedures, and disclosure-clarification tracks regular inspection of aircraft.

The drill is part of a bilateral military cooperation pact for 2021 between the two countries.

In November 2020, the defence ministers of Israel, Cyprus and Greece met in Nicosia.

They agreed on trilateral cooperation to boost defence mechanisms to promote stability and security in the region and jointly address challenges and threats.

The three countries seek partnerships in the defence industry, research and technology and cyber defence.

Cyprus, Greece, and Israel already conduct frequent joint military exercises, including air, naval and ground forces drills.