Flying in a Missile-Threatened Area

Flying in a Missile-Threatened Area

Aircrew members from various combat squadrons participated in a first-of-its-kind training exercise, during which they faced Surface-to-Air missile batteries launched from unknown locations

Vered Talala & Eilon Tohar | Translation: Eden Sharon

Combat Squadrons took part this week in a unique workshop during which they simulating sudden ambushes of Surface-to-Air missiles (SAM). The aircrew members dealt with SAM’s launched from unknown locations and practiced intense combat against other squadrons standing in as the “red enemy”. “One of the goals of the workshop is to create a new instructional platform for training squadrons in dangerous zones”, said Major Shai from the “First Combat” squadron who led the workshop. “We created a special platform which we want to use in the future”.

“This is a type of training never experienced before in the IAF”, added Major Shai. “We gave the aircrew members a free reign, from flying low altitudes to ascending to 50,000 feet. The aircrew members were instructed to do whatever they think is right in order to deal with SAM’s. That was never done before”.

Among the participating squadrons was the “Red Dragon” squadron which simulated the enemy force for the duration of the drill. “The advantage of the high number of squadrons is the variety of platforms available, each with its own advantage”, he said. “When we have F-16Is, F-15Is and F-16C/Ds it gives us different ways of dealing with the threats”.

Uncertainties Resolved
Uncertainty is a challenge for the aircrew members from the different platforms of the IAF. “Unlike normal training, we didn’t know where the SAM’s are exactly”, explained Major Shai. “For example yesterday, as part of the exercise, I flew in a relatively safe area and out of nowhere a missile was fired toward me. This is how you learn to deal with such situations and find solutions”.

Flying in a dangerous zone also requires the aircrew members to deal with severs mental pressure. “It demands a high mental readiness”, said Major Shai. “The workshop approached both aircrew members and other soldiers in the squadron. “We can safely say that our air crews are significantly more prepared for a case of warfare in the Northern region”.