Missile Exercise Missile Exercise Missile Exercise Emergency scenarios are practiced on an ongoing base at the Tel-Nof airbase. Today is the first day of a four-day exercise, simulating intensive fighting at the northern front while bracing for missile barrage attack.

Gal Goldstein | Translation: Nikolai Avrutov

From early morning, the sound of the siren gets people running all over the Tel-Nof base: officers and soldiers, as well as the resident families rush to find the nearest shelter.

“Missile impacts an underground hangar”, reads the announcement. “This is a drill”, it reassures shortly after.

It’s been only a month since the deadly incident at the northern border, where Lieut. Col. Dov Harari was killed and Captain Ezra Lakiya badly injured. The two were shot by a Lebanese sniper, while monitoring routine maintenance work along the border. Provocations of such nature can easily ignite the entire northern border and fighting can resume. The Tel-Nof air base prepares for such possibility.

Major T, a pilot at the “Tip of The Spear” squadron said: “we are not practicing the handling of current threats. Instead, we are looking a few years ahead, at the threats and capabilities we expect to enter the arena. So far, we demonstrated superior abilities even when under missile attack”.

In addition to aerial exercises of the squadron, airborne Search and Rescue Unit 669 practiced rescuing 6 pilots out of a “Yes’ur” helicopter, the Maintenance Squadron set up an arms manufacturing facility, and the Construction unit practiced repairing road damage caused by missile impact.

Looking at the intense preparations across the base, you can’t help but wonder: will it really prepare the soldiers for the real thing? “There is no way of telling what will actually happen”, says Major T. “The main factor when under missile attack is the psychological one. While we tried to make the simulation as realistic as possible, there is no way to anticipate how a soldier will function after losing his comrade”.

“The simulators were so serious, that it actually felt like the real thing”, told one of the Sergeants at the control center. “At times, we even experienced fear. We were placed under great pressure, but we are well trained for such situations, and we handled the incident well”.