Combat squadrons and Special Forces units took part in a JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Control) workshop, challenged to understand each other’s point of view
Have you ever needed to locate a specific person in a room full of people? Now imagine having to do so while looking at the room from above, not knowing how the person you are trying to find looks like and holding nothing but a two-way radio by which one of the attenders directs you to your target.
A skill similar to this one was practiced by the aircrews and combat soldiers: On one side were ground forces located inside the battlefield and on the other side were fighter jets flying high altitude and striving to locate the target from above with help from down below.
The Challenge: Creating a Common Language
The workshop is conducted every year and is consistently modified to meet the current challenges of the combat squadrons. When required to strike a mobile target, the aircrew members need to locate it from the air and are sometimes assisted by special ground forces.
“In the past, when an army fought an army, there were stationary targets you could strike the moment you saw”, says Lieutenant Or, the from the “One” squadron. “During the workshop we dealt with moving target, not once located within population centers”.
To this intricate playground are brought the unique advantages of the fighter jets: great speed that enables them to penetrate deep into enemy territory in minimal time, the capacity to carry large quantity of ammunition and availability which often put them first in line to carry out ground targets attack mission. “Creating common language with a ground force, in this case from outside the IAF, is a challenging mission”, notes Lieutenant Or. “We don’t see the target from the same direction. We need to locate targets based on waypoints we see from completely different angles and make sure we are referring to the same target, all during the mission. The skills we acquire during the workshop – cooperating with ground forces and dealing with unforeseen situations in the air – are relevant also for other mission and that is why this is a great training for the teams”.