Last week, a joint training exercise that simulated combat in the northern theatre was held between the “Defenders of the West” Squadron and the Navy’s Third Flotilla. “We succeeded to improve our mutual language”
The relationship between the “Defenders of the West” Squadron and the Israeli Navy is constantly strengthening: last week, the squadron’s aircrew members and the Navy’s 3rd flotilla held a joint training exercise. In addition, personnel from the 3rd flotilla visited the “Defenders of the West” Squadron and flew in the squadron’s “Atalef” (Panther) helicopter. “We succeeded to improve our mutual language”, stated Maj. A’, Deputy Commander of the Squadron. “We must work together – the helicopter cannot perform its mission without a boat – and the boat cannot perform its mission without the helicopter”.
The IAF and Navy cooperate routinely and in emergency situations. Both sides testify that the key to success is optimal cooperation. “Taking off from and landing on the boats is a complicated mission, so tight cooperation between the helicopter crew and boat commander and crew is critical”, explained Maj. A’.
“We maintain a regular presence on the ships but they usually aren’t in the helicopter”, he shared. “Now, after flying in the helicopter, they can imagine what I see from the cockpit while operating. Next time we discuss our mutual challenges, the basis for conversation will be better”.
“Where sea and sky meet”
This type of joint training exercises is held a number of times each year, its emphasis changes often and its participants rehearse various scenarios. “In the exercise we attempted to simulate a scenario as close as possible to combat in the northern theatre”. “Throughout the day, we flew from the ship in accordance with our needs, commands and missions. We performed night and day flights and tried to include as many people as possible and give them an opportunity to experience the exercise”.
In the exercise the participants faced unplanned scenarios that could occur in combat. “We rehearsed being scrambled for ASR (Air Sea Rescue) and dealt with various challenges”, shared Maj. A’. “It is important to emphasize that our basis isn’t mutual, the IAF doesn’t understand the sea and the Navy doesn’t understand the air because it is neither side’s main occupation, but the ‘Defenders of the West’ and the 3rd flotilla are the places where the sea and sky meet”.