In 2016, the Number of Training Exercises in Cyprus will Grow

Photo by: Hagar Amibar

In 2016, the Number of Training Exercises in Cyprus will Grow

Photo by: Hagar Amibar

In 2016, the Number of Training Exercises in Cyprus will Grow

Photo by: Hagar Amibar

In 2016, the Number of Training Exercises in Cyprus will Grow

Photo by: Hagar Amibar

In 2016, the Number of Training Exercises in Cyprus will Grow

Photo by: Hagar Amibar

Since 2013, Israel and Cyprus’ Air Forces have been collaborating. This week, one of the two training exercises that took place in 2015 ended, in an attempt to train the IAF in unknown territories and against advanced threats. “It is a quantum jump in our abilities, in methods of training and guidance of the air force”

Naomi Zoref | Translation: Ofri Aharon

A comprehensive training exercise recently took place in Cyprus and the results are clear: the cooperation with Cyprus has enabled higher quality training for Israeli aerial teams. The training included multiple flights in different formations in Cypriot airspace and cooperation with different Cypriot squadrons and the local Aerial Defense Division. “This is a great opportunity to train the teams by flying in unfamiliar territories and against advanced threats”, stated Captain Gil, the Head of the overseas Exercises Department. “The short distance between the island and Israel enables high flexibility and allows us to create high quality training scenarios with accessible resources and low costs”.

“Training in Cyprus – a resource that will be as available as a base in the south”
In 2015, two training exercises were conducted in Cyprus and the goal for 2016 is to conduct even more and strengthen the cooperation further. “Our goal is to ease the coordination process and to make it a routine location for the IAF to train in and create a permanent foundation that would allow IAF aircraft to train there as much as possible”, explained Captain Gil. In fact, Cyprus models the environment in which the air force crews will have to operate in reality in a very realistic manner, thus this type of exercise creates the best possible operational training for the air crews and prepares them for combat. “We are preparing to utilize the training in Cyprus as an available resource for training, such as bases in the south”.

A Win- Win Situation
In the first part of the last exercise, teams from the Israeli “Hornet” squadron, which operates the “Apache Longbow” attack helicopter, trained with teams from the Cypriot “450th” Squadron that operates the MI-35.
“We trained in a joint structure with Cypriot attack helicopters, while “battling” a structure of Cypriot attack helicopters – allowing us to train both with them and against them”, shared Major Shahar, leader of the exercise from the “Hornet” squadron. “We mostly trained central scenarios for Cyprus, however both sides gained from the training: both from a joint learning perspective and sharing ideas between the teams as well as training in unfamiliar territory with non-western helicopters that we have yet to experience in the sky”.
The second part of the exercise was larger, as all of the divisions participated: combat jets, helicopters, UAVs and transport aircraft. The goal of the training was to practice one of the most important missions of the IAF – rescue of an ejecting pilot. “To us, this exercise constitutes of a quantum jump in our abilities in training and guiding the IAF”, shares Captain Gil. “Since the environment is realistic to the teams, one could say that this exercise duplicates what they would need in reality”.

 

 

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