American and Israeli “Hercules” transport airplanes cooperated as part of the annual “Nobel Shirley” training exercise, practicing Herculeses’ classic missions, such as parachuting American and Israeli paratroopers
The transport-oriented “Noble Shirley” training exercise held by the IAF and the USAF was completed. The exercise took place in the southern Nevatim Airbase in the Negev, where the forces practiced various scenarios.
“This practice takes place once every few year. We practice classic missions typical for the tactical transport squadrons such as airdropping supply, parachuting combatants and flying solo or in formation” , said Lieutenant Colonel Amiram, Commander of the “Yellow Birds” Squadron operating the “Hercules” airplanes. “The highlight was the joint flights such as parachuting American and Israeli paratroopers”.
The Israeli Hercules squadron led the training exercise with the American Hercules squadrons, but it was also participated by the “Elephant” squadron with the C-130J heavy lifters, the Loading Inspectors unit, the operational Landing Unit and IAF’s Flight& Special Training Center.
“The arriving squadrons are usually positioned in Europe, where they deal with many imposed restrictions regarding environment preservation and populated areas protection. The training spaces in Israel suit the kind of training they lack in Europe”, added Lt. Col. Amiram.
“I think that the most challenging mission on the part of our partners was landing on improvised runways. They don’t do that at all in Europe”, said Lt. Col. Ori, the “Elephants” Squadron Commander. The American planes that took part were all J-model Hercules like the Israeli new “Shimshon”.
“This is our chance to fly by their side and exchange knowledge. We are in a stage where we still have a lot to learn, for example, we still don’t use the advanced parachuting techniques they use. We learn from their experience in the field of plane maintenance and we feel like we also have unique knowledge to share”, added the “Elephants” Squadron Commander. “There are differences between us, but we also have a lot in common, especially because we acquired our basic training from the US Air Force”.
“Can’t wait to return here”
Although this is not the first time this training exercise is taking place, both Air Forces emphasize its importance. “The connection between the forces has many layers. Many of our platforms interface and this training exercise is a part of that relationship”, says Lt. Col. Ori.
“The USAF landed in Israel for the 2015 “Noble Shirley”, this is a repetitive exercise and we have a long-term connection with the Israeli forces practicing with us. We are looking forward to continue the partnership between us”, said Captain Fred, the exercise leader on behalf of the American. “The relationship between Israel and the United States is highly important and we would like to maintain the current status quo. It is a great honor to be here and we can’t wait to return here”.