“This is our chance to better understand the ground fighters”
Practicing in Constructed Area
IAF Members Participate in an Exercise in Tzeelim UAV operators from the “First UAV” squadron took part in a final exercise for regiment and company commanders at Tzeelim base. Through the fields, they hope to learn how battle is perceived from the ground, understand the ground fighters’ way of thought and improve cooperation
Forces of the Israeli Armored Corps hide in the dunes, looking toward an enemy city that lurks nearby. They’ve already planned the details of the operation, the way of attack, and in several minutes will leave to conquer the city. A treacherous battle awaits them. Amongst the buildings, Infantry Corps forces wait, prepared to do anything to defend the town. What they do not know is that the Armored Corps has special reinforcements. Alongside the commanders, stand five UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) operators, who had left their control car and gone into battle.
In the next exercise, many meters will again separate the forces. When the fighters will be deep in the battlefield, the operators will try to assist them from their control car by using the aerial photograph received from the plane. But this time, in the final stages of the company and regiment commander in the Center for Land Operations in Tzeelim, the UAV operators will witness a slightly different picture.
“It’s our chance to better our understanding of the ground forces”, explains Major (Res.) Lior, a UAV operator from the “First UAV” squadron. “We’ve reached the conclusion that we don’t understand the ground language as well, the point of view and way of thought of a fighter on-land out in battle. We want to understand what he needs and what bothers him”. In missions with the aerial squadrons, which are well-known amongst the operators, the feeling is different. “When we work with combat helicopters, for example, we know what is bothering them, what they’re thinking and how to transfer information in the exact way that they need it”.
In order to improve the joint operation, UAV operators arrived at the Center for Land Operations in the early morning hours. They received a briefing together with the ground fighters, discussed intelligence matters and joined the mission. They traveled with the Armored Corps fighters in tank-like Hummers, ran with the Infantry Corps through the city alleys, and in keeping with IAF tradition-finished the day with a joint debriefing.
“What we experienced was fascinating. We learned that we see things very differently and how uncertain the battlefield is. Now we can ask ourselves what is going to be done differently”, says Major (Res.) Lior, “As a mission commander at the squadron, I can say that we have no doubt that the cooperation will be better next time”.