How does the IAF deploy a missile battery in a few hours and under aerial threat? The battery commanders’ course peaked last week during an extreme scenarios exercise. A sneak peak at the most prestigious course of the Air Defense Division How does the IAF deploy a missile battery in a few hours and under aerial threat? The battery commanders’ course peaked last week during an extreme scenarios exercise. A sneak peak at the most prestigious course of the Air Defense Division
A moment before completing the IAF battery commanders’ training course, the future battery commanders have undergone one of the most significant tests before managing an operational battery in the division. After nearly two months of in-depth studying on military and security issues, meeting with former and present high-tanking officers from the division and many exercises, they participants had to prove their ability to command an operational battery under fire by themselves.
“The wet runs arrive after intensive preparations and many training which provide the commanders with the ability to command an operational battery”, explained the most senior course commander in the division, Lt. Col. Kobi Regev. “The final phase will deepen the commanders’ understanding of the challenges in the battery”.
The Last Chance to Make a Mistake
The incoming Air Defense Division commander, Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, has arrived to witness the commanders’ operation in the final test deployments. During a tour in a “Patriot” battery, he spoke of the utmost importance of his soldiers in defending the skies of Israel. “A professional battery commander must have three main traits”, he said. “Command skills to synchronize the different missions, a good understanding of the missions to enable a reasonable operation of the system, and of course creativity – the squadron commander must always adjust himself to the changing events”.
Lieutenant Ofir Bram, a participant in the course who started in the “Patriot” division, thinks that not everyone can be a battery commander. “The job includes operating in complete unpredictability”, he determines. “He can be told to deploy to South Israel, and a day after the situation changes and he needs to deploy to the North. He must keep his mind open and remain dynamic. The final phase is basically our last chance to make a mistake”.
The Goal: Being One Step Ahead of the Enemy
The job of a battery commander in the Air Defense Division is highly important, both because of the unique missions he must perform and the great load on his shoulders. He is required to command over 100 soldiers, officers and NCOs operating the battery. He is also responsible for the execution of a crucial operational mission: defending the home front by using weapons worth up to hundreds of millions of NIS. “I aspire to instill my future soldiers with curiosity and professionalism. The will to always know more and be the best”, said Lieutenant Ofir Bram. “I also want my soldiers to show respect for one another for us to become one unite family”.
During the final test, the commander had to operate the battery in the tactical level: from the deployment, to choosing locations of the command center, radar and interceptors, to understanding the broader strategic considerations of the mission. Deploying a weapon system in the field in the shortest time possible is a challenge that requires much practice to complete on the best side. “Our goal is to always stay one step ahead of our enemy”.