In an era in which munitions possess almost-imaginary capabilities, alongside pilot’s need to divide attention between the many systems in the plane, a fighter pilot must understand the weapons systems, from their structure down to the last screw In the modern era in which “smart bombs” and accurate weaponry are often used, a fighter pilot must be fully knowledgeable of every capability and every result of the munitions he/she uses in order to use them as effectively as possible. During a special training session, the pilots from the “First Jet” squadron from the Ramat David airbase were given a chance to take a closer look at the munitions
Nowadays, the IAF’s bombs and weapons are at the forefront of technology. They are precise, fast and are capable of hitting targets from great heights and distances. In an era in which munitions possess almost-imaginary capabilities, alongside pilot’s need to divide attention between the many systems in the plane, a fighter pilot must understand the weapons systems, from their structure down to the last screw in order to properly use them. “Today, bombs hit a target”, explains Major Yonatan, Deputy Commander of the “First Jet” squadron, which operates F-16C/D. “Understanding how the system works, what effect the bomb has on a certain target and how to correctly use it, is mission”.
Training For Emergencies
This week, the “First Jet” squadron put its weapons front and center. Through intense training exercises and extreme scenarios, the aircrews of the squadron trained in order to become familiar with and to understand the “smart bombs” they will soon use. “The training was divided into very detailed instructions conducted in small groups, together with the planning of flight scenarios that will challenge the aircrews in terms of operating the weapons”, explains Major Yonatan. “We wanted to create a situation in which they would encounter several of the most complex missions and even push them in areas we have identified as being challenges in this field”.
For example, the pilots had to hit targets while the external environment surprised them with threats and requires them to think about working safely, effectively and appropriately in the sky. When surface-to-air missile batteries are deployed on the ground in enemy territory for example, the jets have to change the direction of the attack in the air and in fact change the course of the mission through quick thinking and in a short time span. “We train for the most extreme situations and ultimately, the goal of the training is to confront them with difficult scenarios and to find solutions”, adds Major Yonatan.
As part of the unique training, which is the fourth one this year, a weapons exhibition was held at the squadron, in which the pilots were shown bombs that they only encounter in passing while running to their F-16 during a dispatch.”We wanted to see and to stare at the ‘eyes of the bomb’, to learn more intimately about its structure and its capabilities”, says Major Yonatan. “Ultimately, the more we know our tools, the more we will know how to make good use of them at any time in any scenario”.