The “Defenders of the West” Squadron Meets the French Navy The “Defenders of the West” Squadron Meets the French Navy The “Defenders of the West” Squadron Meets the French Navy The “Defenders of the West” Squadron Meets the French Navy The IAF Maritime Patrol Squadron –The “Defenders of the West” – and its French equivalent met last week for a brainstorming session aimed at enriching each other’s instructional knowledge. “Being a unique squadron, it is very important for us to learn from other air forces around the world”

Noa Fenigstein

The AS-565 “Panther” (AKA “Bat”) maritime patrol Helicopters Squadron, located in Ramat-David Airbase had a special meeting last week: teams from the equivalent French Maritime Patrol Squadron joined them at Haifa port for an enriching instructional gathering.

“The French “Panther” helicopters squadron is a sister-squadron of the Israeli “Defenders of the West” and we’ve met with it before”, says Captain M., the squadron’s second-in-command, who is in charge of the squadron’s instructional field. “The purpose of the meeting is creating a mutual learning process and to form a base of optional cooperation between the forces”.

This time, unlike previous cooperation sessions, soldiers from the squadron’s technical division also took part in the project. “The ‘Panther’ helicopter’s technicians have many unique and complex missions”, says Captain M. “The technical maintenance regulations are an integral part of the squadron’s development, and it’s important to learn from the aerial and marine capabilities of the French Navy”.

The “Defenders of the West” Squadron is one-of-a-kind in the IAF and has many designated missions that combine the air and the sea and often work with foreign air forces and navies. “We see great importance in learning from different forces, practicing with them and comparing work methods for the joint missions”, adds Captain M. “The main objective is to expand and improve the squadron and simultaneously tighten the IAF’s relations with air forces and navies all around the globe”.