Following The Leader

“It was clear to me that it is better to be delayed or maybe even abort the mission and not take the risk of bombing our forces” Following The Leader

The flying formation leader has to know how to deal with dilemmas in the air and to make decisions on the ground, before taking off Over the course of Operation “Protective Edge”, flying formation leaders have faced many dilemmas. Captain A’, who recently finished his training as a flight formation leader, talks about his job and one of the dilemmas with which he dealt during the operation

Naomi Tzoref

When a fighter jet goes out on a flight, whether as part of an exercise or an operation, the flight is executed by at least a pair of aircrafts, with the flying formation leader at the head of the formation. The aircrew member start training to be flying formation leaders at the “Flying Dragon” squadron, which prepares them for extreme situations, in which the mission leader will have to make decisions quickly. “The leader is actually the commander of the flying formation”, explains Captain A’, from the “First Battle” squadron, who recently finished his training as a flying formation leader and went out on his first leading flights during Operation “Protective Edge”. “The flying formation leader has two main missions: the first is successfully executing the mission and the second one is returning the flying formation safe and sound”.

Because he is effectively the commander of the mission, the flying formation leader has to know how to deal with dilemmas in the air and to make decisions on the ground, before taking off. “The responsibility of the flying formation leader starts with the ‘small details’”, says Captain A’, “Such as air traffic coordination and communication management with the Control Unit and different bodies and reaches its peak with making decisions and solving dilemmas in real time, in the air”.

Not Taking Chances

During operation “Protective Edge”, Captain A’ had to deal with a dilemma that could have ended with completely different results.”We took off on a flight, during which we had to hit terrorist targets near our forces”, he adds. “There was a clear indication that the enemy was on one side and the IDF forces on the other. Even though I was supposed to attack at the same time, I was not ready to skip verifying the information in my hands. It was clear to me that it is better to be delayed or maybe even abort the mission and not take the risk of bombing our forces”.

 

 

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