From international cooperation to preparation for multi-arena combat – this is the IAF’s 2017 training program

Nadav Shaham

As part of five-year framework of activity in the IDF in various fields and in light of the many changes occurring inside and out, the IAF is preparing for all possible scenarios and training its personnel for optimal operational performance in all arenas.

How Will the IAF Train in the Coming Year?

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Response to any Need
Preparation for combat is reflected in all IAF activity and the responsibility for maintaining the force’s preparedness and fitness through designing optimal forms of training lies with the IAF’s Training Department, which designs the IAF Training Program yearly. “We try to adapt ourselves and our training exercises to the missions the IAF needs to be ready for”, said Col. Amit, Head of the IAF’s Training Department. “The process begins with an operational and intelligence situation assessment and by defining our main threats. Thereafter, we confer with Squadron Commanders and senior officers in the IAF’s operational HQ in order to understand the challenges at our doorstep during the coming year”.

Throughout the year, IAF personnel perform multiple training exercises of various sizes, from Squadron specific exercises, to base-wide exercises and IAF-wide, comprehensive exercises. Simultaneously, there is currently a clear trend of shifting training flight hours from the air to simulators.

How Will the IAF Train in the Coming Year?

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Attack and Defense
Throughout the coming year, the IAF’s fighter division will continue performing training exercises at all hours and in all weather, while maintaining the safety of the air and ground crews. In addition, various concepts will be developed and sharpened such as the ability to attack multiple targets in short time spans, “Blue vs. Blue” training exercises in which two IAF squadrons simulate a scenario in which one acts as an aggressor and the other as a defender. The transport squadron will also continue to strengthen its activity, by means of cooperation missions with other military corps and production of high quality intelligence and surveillance.

The IAF will continue integrating the “Adir” (F-35I) and adjusting itself to the fifth generation age, so various training exercises are in store for the advanced stealth fighter.

How Will the IAF Train in the Coming Year?

Photography: Celia Garion

Working Together
The IAF’s Helicopter Division will also develop its ability to protect Israel’s borders. It will operate in cooperation with the Israeli Navy and Ground Forces, rehearse aerial assistance and air support and strengthen the necessary cooperation between the corps. “This year we will bring all of the processes into practice – planning and control of missions that deal with assistance to maneuvering forces”, shared Col. Oren, Commander of the IAF’s Cooperation Unit.

How Will the IAF Train in the Coming Year?

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Not Left Behind
The world of UAVs is in constant development. The IAF isn’t left behind and has advanced greatly in the technological and human aspects of the developing field. In the coming year, the structure of the UAV Academy will be examined and a training and qualification concept adjusted to the division’s needs will be written with a long-term point of view, with the goal of performing 90 percent of training flight hours in simulators. In addition, its personnel will continue preparing for operation activity, they will simulate various scenarios in which they will be required to identify forces and produce intelligence, all under great amounts of pressure.

How Will the IAF Train in the Coming Year?

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Around the World
In the aspect of IAF cooperation with foreign forces, a number of central and significant joint training exercises will be held this year, with the crowning jewel being the “Blue-Flag” exercise, which will be held in Ouvda AFB and host many countries, some of which who have never trained in Israel. “Blue-Flag” is a large-scale international joint training exercise that will be held for the third time this year with the goal of simulating extreme combat scenarios and coalition flying as realistically as possible. 

How Will the IAF Train in the Coming Year?

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