Sherut Ha’avir submits a ‘plan for increasing the power of the Sherut’ to General Yigael Yadin

The increasing use of Sherut Ha’avir’s squadrons at Sde Dov and the Negev required the preparation of plans for for organizing the Sherut as a regular aerial force. On March 9th 1948 Sherut Ha’avir presented the head of the IDF’s Operations Section, Yigael Yadin, with its plan for ‘increasing the power of Sherut Ha’avir. The plan called for the aerial force to be arranged in four wings: three regional wings, that would resemble each other in structure and function, and another, larger wing, for special operations. This fourth wing, which was to operate from Sde Dov, would include two bomber squadrons, a fighter squadron, a transport squadron, a reconnaissance and photography squadron, an ‘internal transportation’ squadron and a training squadron. Its missions would include “attacking enemy bases by bombing, aerial defense against enemy bombers, supply of equipment and men to different parts of the country, communications with the world outside of Jewish Palestine, assistance to the regional wings and guarding of the coasts and borders”. The three regional wings had identical structures, and the deployment of each was planned in accordance with that of the respective ground regiments.

The plan presented was that of a modern air force, in terms of the late 1940’s, structured according to the RAF WW2 model. The plan called for the ‘Aviation Force’ to have between 54 and 90 fighters, 30 to 33 bombers, 27 light observation and liaison planes, nine reconnaissance/photography planes and 30 trainers.

The plan included an air-oriented addendum to the plan that had been drawn up in the General Staff in anticipation of the Arab invasion expected to follow Britain’s withdrawal. The addendum specified the missions to be carried out by the proposed ‘Aviation Force’ in the event of an invasion, which included: ‘strategic reconnaissance’ flights meant to obtain information and photographs of enemy concentrations and movements, along the borders and some distance away from them, ‘strategic bombing’ of airbases in Arab countries, ‘tactical observation’ flights west of the Jordan over regular and irregular forces that might penetrate it, ‘tactical bombing and shelling against small targets in cooperation with ground forces, aerial defense missions, liaison and ‘tactical coordination with ground forces’.