Flying to the Unknown

Flying to the Unknown

Flying to the Unknown

Operational sorties are often characterized by uncertainty and unpredictable threats, requiring quick decision making. Air crews of the “First Fighter” squadron practiced scenarios in which the ability to plan ahead is taken away

Vered Talala

Unpredictable scenarios can occur at any moment in the cockpit during fighting and in routine training sorties. Dealing with the unknown is commonplace for the air crew members of the “First Fighter” squadron, who have faced many operational sorties in which uncertainty is a key player. In order to stay vigilant, the air crews practiced surprising scenarios earlier this week.

The mental challenge began in the morning briefing, which seemed to be routine. “We are used to morning briefings in which we are instructed on the mission that awaits us, the enemy we are going to face and what kind of weapons he is going to use against us”, said Lieutenant M, a pilot in the squadron. “This time, the only thing we knew is who is going to fly next to us in the formation. In that situation, we must make quick decisions as soon as we enter the mission area. We can’t anticipate the place from the enemy will emerge and what weapons he will use”.

“Fighting is a compilation of unplanned scenarios”
the pilot sitting in a cockpit thousands of feet above ground must sometimes make difficult decisions, but the F-16 C/D pilots of the “First Fighter” squadron do not seem to be worried. “The air crews of the squadron are experienced with operational sorties in which things do not go accordingly to plan”, explained Lieutenant M. “In spite of that, when you add the aspect of uncertainty to the flight, it adds tension. We suddenly need to think about who the enemy is and the weapons he might use, things that turn flying much more complicated”.

IAF squadrons make sure to conduct exercises of this kind frequently, because warfare is almost always unpredictable. “Fighting is basically a compilation of unplanned scenarios”, added Lieutenant M. “exercises of this kind are the closest thing to warfare we can create and are therefore highly significant. The air crew members learn about how they react in such situations and more importantly, learn how to improve themselves”.