IAF Helicopter squadrons strengthen their cooperation with the IDF’s newest infantry unit: The Kfir (Lion Cub) Brigade, which was established to fight terror in Judea and Samaria territory. During the recent brigade exercise Kfir fighters and IAF pilots practiced on evacuated the injured, artillery assistance and worked mainly on strengthening their bonds
Yuval Tsuk | Photography: Roni Aviv (“Bamahane”)
Hundreds of mottled caps crowded the training fields of Northern Israel, waiting for the opening call of Kfir Brigade’s arguably most complex exercise since its establishment in 2005. For five days, commanders and soldiers learned about the IAF while pilots got to know the brigade, which was established in 2005 to fight against terror in Judea and Samaria.
Together, pilots and the infantry forces practiced evacuating the injured, flying with assistance, artillery assistance and droppings. They practiced the smallest details and learned to understand the air-to-ground language nuances: Kfir fighters even learned how to apply improvised attenuators for the assisting helicopters’ arrival. “The aerial aspect was very significant”, says Captain A’, the unit’s Commander of the cooperation exercises responsible for this training. “We wanted to give them a little push, so that they get an idea of what helicopters are like and how to work with their assistance. The helicopters, on their part, learn how to practice maneuvering alongside improvised threats and communicate with the brigade”.
“There is no manual telling you how to operate”
Just like in other infantry collaboration exercises, “Rolling Sword”, “Southern Bells”, “Nocturnal Birds”‘ and “First helicopter” Squadrons were called to participate though this time this was their first meet with the young brigade. “For us, the exercise is complicated since we don’t know what it will include or what decisions will be made as we go,” says captain A’. “We are giving them a mission and want to see how they handle it”.
This is critical for the young brigade since this is its the first extended exercise in which it received full aerial information. And so, many commanders were scattered amongst the soldiers and guided them through the new situation. “Our job is to fit a square into a circle”, says Captain A’ with a smile. “There is no manual telling you have to operate. It’s just a group of people that has to know how to work together”.