Many IAF flight platforms have recently joined the IDF Paratroopers Brigade for a training exercise. The forces practiced airlifting and aircraft directing – skills used during the 2014 Operation “Protective Edge”
Talya Yariv, Vered Talala & Shani Poms
“This is the biggest training exercise ever held in cooperation with the IAF”, determines Lieutenant Colonel A, IAF representative to the “Fire Formation”, which includes the Paratroopers Brigade. The training exercise held this week by the brigade involved all IAF flight formations and many aircraft.
Five Formations, Five Days
The five-days training exercise is not like any other held recently. Live ammunition air strikes and airlifting combat soldiers are just some of the missions practiced.
This event reflects the peak capabilities of the cooperation between maneuvering ground forces and the Israeli Air Force.
“All IAF flight formations took par, something that has happened before, but not on that scale”, said Lt. Col. A.
It opened with an “aerial train”, when the brigade combat soldiers were flown from the southern Nevatim Airbase to a landing strip.
“It obligates us to use our aircraft wisely and plan everything minutely”, explains Major Shai, an aircrew member from the “Knights of the Yellow Bird” squadron. The squadron used Hercules C-130s and the new C-130Js “Shimshon”.
“When you combine many planes together, it means you can rapidly get large forces into one place”.
The cooperation between the brigade and the IAF continued in a special workshop in which airlifters delivered equipment to the brigade on the ground. “When dealing with airborne delivery, you must understand what the force needs, where and how. The ability to fly in threatened airspace is a challenge on its own”, he says. “The training exercise and the workshop together simulate operational scenarios in an excellent, more concrete way”.
From a Bird’s Eye View
Another squadron that took part is the “First” squadron.
“The joint training contribute to our warfare capabilities and readiness”, said Lt. Col. Yoav, squadron commander. “With our intelligence-gathering ‘Beechcraft King Air B200’ planes we protect the forces on the ground from enemy fire. During Operation ‘Protective Edge’ we’ve toned up the cooperation with the Paratroopers Brigade that used the guidance of the aircrews above”.