Nighttime Scorpions

Technical division soldiers performing their missions in the dark Nighttime Scorpions

“Checking a plane during the day is different from doing so at night” Nighttime Scorpions

Taking off at nightfall. A “backwards” week at the “Scorpion” squadron The “Scorpion” squadron spent a week practicing under the moonlight: aircrews dealt with complex scenarios under conditions of poor visibility while technicians had to work meticulously all day long. “At the end of the day, most of the military activity occurs at night”

Naomi Tzoref

In winter, the sun goes down around 05:00 p.m. at the Hatzor airbase. The darkness is a sure sign of the end of the work day, but last week, the impending darkness signaled the start of complex workday: as part of “Night Week”, aircrews from the “Scorpion” squadron had to reverse their schedule and remain alert and energetic at night.

As part of the “backwards” week at the squadron, the aircrews dealt with complex flights under the moonlight that included ground threats, refueling, and complicated and challenging scenarios.

“The week-long nighttime exercise is useful mainly because of the intensity of the flights, which simulate the operation of the squadron that has many missions”, explained Colonel Dan Tortan, the base commander, who also took part in the nighttime flights. “Personally, I take the opportunity to fly several times in a row, which is something that is not possible during my daily routine”.

Night Be Gone

It is not just the aircrews that deal with the darkness; even the teams of technicians had complex and critical missions that became all the more challenging at night and the preparation for these missions was especially important.

“We also turned into ‘owls’ this week”, said Captain A’, the ammunition officer in the squadron. “At the end of the day, most of the military activity occurs at night and this exercise is important for everybody in the squadron”.

In order to successfully supply the squadrons with its needs at all hours of the day, the technical division was divided into the night teams and the day teams. “Checking a plane in the day is different from checking it at night”, stressed Lieutenant Colonel Y’, commander of the aerial maintenance squadron at the base. “We take great care in being more focused mainly because these are extreme conditions”.

Much like the aircrews, the technical units meticulously teaches the young generation of technicians the importance of the night for their job and the importance of the special week-long training.

“This is an excellent training exercise for the young technicians because it’s the first ‘Night Week’ exercise they get to experience”, explains Major A’, technical unit commander of the “Scorpion” squadron. “Additionally, the commanders take advantage of the week-long exercise to understand the weaknesses in the work of the aircrews and the ground crews and to fix them”. “It is important for us to review the unusual events that happen in the squadron and to learn from them and then hold briefings in order to make all of us more professional on various issues”, concluded Chief Warrant Officer Eli Zmorsky, the commander of the underground hangers.