Two transport helicopter squadrons, the “Rolling Sword” and the “Leaders of the Night” squadrons, met this week for a joint training exercise, in which they practiced rescue missions in the north and learned mostly about each other’s world. “Knowing that the division flies and speaks in the same language gives us a sense of security”
Michal Khayut and Nadav Berger
The desert landscape surrounding the Ouvda airbase hosted two visitors this week: the Blackhawk helicopter from the “Rolling Sword” squadron and the Sikorsky helicopter from the “Leaders of the Night” squadron from the Tel Nof airbase, a stronghold of transport helicopters. The two guest helicopters made their way to the south in order to fly together and learn from one another about the differences, challenges, and solutions from the world of transport helicopters. “Most of the training dealt with learning how to fly in a joint formation with the Blackhawk and the Sikorsky helicopters”, explained Major Amir, Deputy Commander of the “Rolling Sword” squadron. “It started with the planning on the ground, included flight methods, and ended with the debriefing”.
The aircrew members from both squadrons took off to perform different missions in a simulated northern environment, from rescuing a pilot who has abandoned his plane to a complete evacuation of forces stuck in enemy territory. The “Flying Dragon” squadron from the Ouvda airbase simulated enemy forces that challenged the squadrons with surface-to-air missile fire and other threats.
The two types of helicopters were rarely called upon to cooperate and fly in a joint formation as part of the operational activity. “The main goal was to learn about the work methods of the other squadron…and the differences between us”, said First Lieutenant Adam, who was in charge of the training on behalf of the “Leaders of the Night” squadron.
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What is unique about the big Sikorsky helicopter is its wide cargo hold and the large amount of cargo it is capable of carry, which allows it to fly higher and farther. By contrast, the Blackhawk is resistant to possible damage and focuses on missions on the front. “Although the platforms and the missions are different, ultimately, the job and the work method [of both helicopters] are almost the same”, adds Major Amir. “Knowing that the division flies and speaks in the same language and can connect with others, both on the ground and in the air, in order to carry out missions without any problem gives us a sense of security”.