Hercules: An Important Part of Ground Combat Hercules: An Important Part of Ground Combat Hercules: An Important Part of Ground Combat The Hercules squadron has unique capabilities that could assist infantry forces out in the battlefield. This week, infantry commanders and commanders of the Hercules squadrons met in order to discuss the cooperation bond between the two. “The formation has to have a significant influence on the cooperation between air and land”

Yuval Tsuk

One of the Hercules squadrons’ main missions is to assist infantry forces in the transfer of fighters or medical equipment, food and ammunition. This week, Nevatim Airbase, home to heavy cargo squadrons, welcomed the Hercules’ partners: Senior Commanders from the IDF’s 98th Paratroopers Division. “We are making efforts to strengthen the bond between the two and practice our shared abilities”, said Commander of the base, Brigadier General Ronen Simchi. “Most of the Hercules missions serve the infantry forces and so we put much effort into our cooperative exercises in order to demonstrate the commitment we have to one another”.

Commander of the Infantry Forces: “Improving our capabilities against the threats facing the IDF”
“This day is only a part of the shared intensive work of the special forces and paratroopers alongside the IAF”, said Brigadier General Itay Virov, Paratrooper Infantry Commander. “Our goal is to improve our capability to carry out paratrooper missions and transfer supplies, and still deal with the threats the IDF faces these days; it’s important to clarify that we all have the same goal”.

After long discussions about strengthening the bond, the infantry commanders were exposed to the capabilities of the large airplane: starting with takeoff and landing on a dusty lane, loading Hummers and carrying supplies and fighters. The day did not end with demonstrations: Throughout the day, Brigadier General Yirov and Brigadier General Aharon Haliva, Commander of the 98th Paratroopers Division, became the first paratroopers to jump off a military airplane into Nevatim Airbase. “The Hercules Formation is very small and unique, and it has many abilities and missions”, says Colonel Yaron, commander of the cooperation unit, which responsible for the bond between IAF and IDF. “Regardless of its size, it needs to have a significant place in operations during ground battle. We are trying to get acquainted with the situation and have a discussion of abilities that could develop in the future”.

“Combat” Cargo Airplane: Flying Fighters into Enemy Zones

As the classic cooperation between infantry forces and the IAF usually involves helicopters, this collaboration will take place mostly in extreme missions, like flying infantry forces into enemy lines. Seeing as this is the goal of the cooperation, the Hercules was created with more “combat” capabilities than its heavy underground hangar counterparts, like the Boeing. “This airplane was created for a certain purpose”, emphasizes Lieutenant Colonel Tal, Commander of the Hercules Formation, “The Yellow Bird Squadron”. “Since the first day that the Hercules airplanes landed here in the 70’s, they have been used to aid the infantry forces in evacuating injured soldiers. It is our main goal to assist fighters on the ground, that is why this bond is so important, seeing one in the eyes of the other”.

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