A year has passed since Operation “Protective Edge” and the IAF drew conclusions, developed new combat doctrines and continued to train and operate. IAF Commander: “Whoever chooses to harm us will encounter a prepared and firm Air Force”
50 days of fighting, hundreds of “Iron Dome” interceptions, air strikes and a continuous sirens sound: Operation “Protective Edge” opened exactly a year ago following rocket fire toward Israel from Gaza Strip. Over the passing year, the IAF have been drawing conclusions, developing and growing.
“Over the past year, the IAF had to prove its high level of quality and relevance time after time. During Operation ‘Protective Edge’, the IAF has demonstrated a high level of professionalism and morality, unparalleled in the world”, said Major General Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, during the recent Pilot Course Graduation Ceremony. “The IAF does not stand alone – it is deeply integrated with the army. The jointness provides the IDF with capabilities and power that were not seen before. The relative calm is a result of IDF’s power, operations carried out with discretion and strategic conditions. Whoever chooses to harm us, will encounter a prepared and firm Air Force. He will be presented the power of our force, far beyond his expectations”.
Less than 12 months after the operation, rockets fire toward Southern Israel resumed and the IAF is always alert and ready for every scenario. “We understand that every small event can grow into something big”, explains Lt. Col. Tomer, Commander of the “Knight of the Orange Tail” Squadron in Hatzerim Airbase.
“The status is very dynamic and changes are frequent. The threats and the orders on how to deal with them, update on a daily basis”, added Lt. Col. Harel, Commander of the Southern Control Unit.
From South to North: Drawing Conclusions and Preparing for the Future
All of IAF formations took part in the continuous fighting: aircrew members, controllers, technicians and headquarter soldiers. All of them worked day and night for the joint goal.
“The penny has dropped during the operation and we realized that we are relevant everywhere and always. We dealt with a variety of missions and had to preserve readiness and intensity for a long term”, says Lt. Col. Tomer. “We conducted many intelligence gathering sorties and realized how vital it was. We have also been working closely with the Gaza Front Division over the past year. We are familiar with their unique language, their threats and targets and know how to work together”.
The soldiers of IAF’s Southern Control Unit also note that the last campaign generated many insights which are being implemented in the force these very days. “We conduct many training exercises, maintain competence inside the unit and strengthen our connection with other forces like the Air Defense Division”.
The soldiers of the Northern Ramat-David Airbase have also taken part in the operation and the squadrons of the airbase were the first to strike. During routine, the airbase practices defense of the northern area, but can also operate in the south arena when needed. “We are all very committed to the missions and worked around the clock”, says Lt. Col. S, squadron Commander in Ramat-David Airbase.