Operational activity such as in the 2006 Lebanon War or in the Gaza Flotilla Raid has proved the importance of cooperation between the IAF and Israeli Navy. Graduates of the Naval Academy, the next generation of commanders in the Israeli Navy, received the opportunity to get to know the aerial arm
“The aerial-naval course was established after the 2006 Lebanon War, as a result of a need to strengthen cooperation between the two forces, and work more efficiently”, explains Captain Uri, a Naval officer, who has recently led aerial training for graduates of the Naval Academy. “In the case of the Gaza Flotilla Raid or the arrests of other flotillas, the cooperation between us was of immense importance. They are two different worlds and we need to learn how to connect them”.
“In battle, we can give the Naval forces planes and helicopter to assist them in defending their ships or bombing enemy ships”, explains Lieutenant Itay, a controller in the IAF who was responsible for the aerial course for Naval officers. “The communication between us is very important; in order for the Navy to better direct the planes toward the targets, for example. We have many mutual goals”.
Lost in Translation
Throughout the course, which is meant to improve the dialogue between both parties, graduates of the Naval Academy in advanced stage training arrived at one of the IAF’s control units. Together with the controllers, they learned how to communicate with pilots in the air, became familiar with IAF terminology and experienced simulations in the simulator. “We explained to them about the planes and ammunition, and instructed them on how to use our control systems”, explains Lieutenant Itay, the flight controller who led the course. “They also have systems on the ship, but they’re different. These are the elements of cooperation. Without them we cannot move forward”.
One of the challenges that make communication between naval officers and pilots difficult is the language barrier. Even though everyone speaks Hebrew, each force has its own terminology and speech patterns. “In fact, the course includes instruction on how to create this kind of communication, since each one of the sides speaks ‘a different language’”, clarifies Lieutenant Itay. “The naval officers participating in the course not only learn the language themselves”, says Captain Uri, “But they pass it on. Every one of them will be commanding a ship in the future”.