“The Arena Changes” An Interview with Major-general Ido Nehushtan, the commander of the IAF

 Two years in the post of air force commander, how do you summarize the period from an operational point of view?

“First, it is important to note, that the air force is involved in virtually every military operation in a wide variety of roles, and is heavily involved at almost every stage from planning to execution. For us, it is an ongoing process of action, learning, and further action. The arena changes all the time, and we simply cannot drop the ball not even for a single moment.

The last two years were packed with action, some of which we are able to openly discuss. At the center of the war on terror, was operation “Cast Led”, which was a unique and focused effort. The Air force demonstrated an extremely high level of ability and professionalism. It was a complex operation, which took place at a very close proximity to civil population, within a dense, and problematic urban terrain. We established a new standard of performance in terms of cooperation and coordination with ground forces. In this respect, the operation was the focal point of a long planning process. The operation significantly restrained Hamas, and reduced its motivation to engage in further hostilities. Citizens of Southern Israel enjoy a relative calm, and that’s what matters the most. IAF’s operational activity in the last two years was impeccable, and helped to restrain the terrorist factions, and maintain a regional calm both through the Second Lebanon War, as well as in operation “Cast Led””.

UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are a growing field of activity. How will it affect the future battle field?

“Israel is at the cutting edge of UAV development. My opinion is that UAVs will play an important support role. UAVs for example, allow us to get a better image of the battle field, and lead to better decision making with fewer unknowns. In addition, UAVs offer the ability for an on-going “presence”, unlike jets that are deployed on short attack-and-return sorties. This is a significant addition to the air force’s capabilities”.

Active Defence is also a rapidly developing area of activity for the force. How does it fit in with its operational policy?

“The Israeli air force is a pioneer in technology development. With regards to active defence, we are at a brink of a new age: conceptually, strategically, and technologically. 

Israel created the field with the deployment of the “Arrow” almost 20 years ago, a world’s first active defence system. These days, we are looking forward for the deployment of the “Iron Dome” system, which will protect Israel from short-range rockets and missiles. Eventually, we expect it to become part of a complete, multi-layered anti-missile defence system. In addition, together with the Home Front Command, we are working towards the enhancement of early detection system, adding valuable time for citizens to find shelter in case of an attack”.