The “First Jet” Squadron members, like the rest of the IAF’s aircrews, usually train in the air. Last week, the squadron held a unique training day in the Mission Training Center in which it trained for extreme situations and threats difficult to exercise in the air. They were joined by the IAF Commander

Eitam Almadon

Last week, the “First Jet” Squadron arrived at Hatzor AFB for a training exercise in which Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, the IAF Commander, participated as well. The squadron, which is located in Ramat-David AFB and operates the “Barak” (F-16C/D) arrived at the MTC (Mission Training Center) in order to rehearse unique scenarios in flight simulators, without leaving the ground. The goal of the exercise was to provide added value to the rehearsal of extreme scenarios which cannot be practiced daily, to instill positive habits and expose the pilots to combat scenarios.

“The squadron trains in the MTC four times a year and during the most recent exercise we emphasized operational scenarios”, shared Capt. Guy, Debriefing Officer in the “First Jet” Squadron. “In one of the sorties, we rehearsed being scrambled to extract a pilot from an enemy territory, a kind of surprise incident to which many aircraft are sent. The simulator simulated the different crews in the air, the noise and pressure on the radio. In addition, we also exercised routine flight dilemmas facing a possible escalation in the situation and transferring to combat mode”.

Despite being simulated flight, there are many advantages to training in simulators. “In the MTC we can rehearse the most extreme scenarios you can imagine”, said Capt. Guy. “We can press the different buttons, drop bombs, launch missiles and simulate flight in enemy territory while facing enemy aircraft”.

Feet on the Ground

Photography: Mor Tzidon

Like an Operational Sortie
The fact that the sorties are conducted in a simulator doesn’t change the order of actions performed before each flight, furthermore, the aircrews perform a briefing before flying in the simulator, like every other operational flight. “The reserve and emergency positioned crews that come here, undergo a pre-flight briefing and prepare as if they were about to fly”, shared Capt. Guy. “In the briefing we display the mission and scenario, the threats and other relevant data, after which the pilot takes off for the sortie”.

During the exercise, there is close cooperation between the squadron members, the ATC Unit and the MTC personnel, primarily in the briefing and debriefing stages. “We explain our procedures, the MTC’s limitation and the requirement of the exercise to the squadron. In addition, we are responsible for performing the instructions, for staying on schedule and for preparing the scenarios”, shared Maj. Guy, Commander of the MTC. “After completing the mission, a joint debriefing is held with the manager of the exercise and the simulator instructor, who emphasize the instructive aspect”.

Feet on the Ground

Photography: Mor Tzidon

More Simulator Hours
Increasing simulator training hours at the expense of aerial training, which entails high safety risks, is a growing trend in the IAF. The MTC is the IAF’s most advanced simulator, in which the trainees can realistically simulate a sortie, see and communicate with each other and train in crews. In addition, as opposed to older simulators, in the new simulator the aircrews can also rehearse interceptions and advanced missions.

The IAF’s “Barak” (F-16C/D) and “Sufa” (F-16I) aircrews arrive at the MTC to train for missions with a defined purpose. For example, in the MTC it is possible to simulate flight above enemy territory which includes the threats relevant to each theatre and train for missions impossible to rehearse in the air such as dropping bombs and firing missiles at targets. 

Feet on the Ground

Archive Photo

Source