“It is important that we have their cover, that way we will be able to rely on them when we really need them”
In different scenarios, a combat helicopter flies beside a transport helicopter, for example, when a pilot abandons his plane in enemy territory
“It is an important training session because each squadron has a different emphasis and different procedures”
The goal of the workshop is to increase cooperation between the combat and transport helicopter squadrons The helicopter squadrons of the IAF have different missions from one another, but last week combat and transport helicopters met for a joint training session and practiced scenarios that they are likely to encounter at the moment of truth. The protection of the combat helicopters is important for executing the mission safely”
Michal Khayut and Shir Cohen
Despite the big difference in purpose between combat and transport helicopters, the two divisions are often called on to work together. To this end, aircrew members from the “Hornets” combat helicopter squadron and aircrew members from the “Nocturnal Birds” and “Rolling sword” transport helicopter squadrons met last week for a flight workshop in Arava. As part of the workshop, the aircrews practiced scenarios in which they would have to work together. “This is a special training flight”, explains First Lieutenant Nadav from the “Hornets” squadron at the Ramon airbase, which led the exercise. “We don’t usually get to take part in a training session that deals with cooperation like this one, but this year we intend to raise the level of cooperation”.
The goal of the workshop is to increase cooperation between the combat and transport helicopter squadrons in situations, in which the combat helicopters accompany the transport helicopters on their missions and provide them with protection, such as rescue missions for combat forces in battle or pilots who have abandoned their planes in enemy territory. “The scenarios we practiced were ones under threat and so we accompanied them”, explains First Lieutenant Nadav. “We worked on the common fighting doctrine of the combat and transport helicopters. It is an important training session because each squadron has a different emphasis and different procedures”.
In certain situations, transport helicopters and rescue crews are called on to rescue ground forces that are stuck in enemy territory. In such a situation, flying beside transport helicopters are two combat helicopters, which are responsible for providing the helicopters with cover from attacks when needed: they scour the area, look for relevant threats and provide the transport helicopters with the necessary protection. The aircrew in the transport helicopters is then free to search for and rescue the ground forces and will not have to divide its attention between rescuing and evading threats. “Basically, we can do all the rescue scenarios that we practiced in the workshop alone, but combat helicopters are critical for the mission”, emphasizes First Lieutenant Dan, who is responsible for the training session and comes from the “Rolling Sword” transport helicopter squadron, which is located at the Palmachim airbase. “It is important that we have their cover, that way we will be able to rely on them when we really need them”.