“The people serving in Ramat David really put their heart and soul into preserving the security of the State of Israel”
“The great responsibility that is being placed on our shoulders demands of us a larger amount of alertness and readiness than ever before”,
“It’s amazing to see how the changes on the front affect the activities on base” Beyond the northern border of the state of Israel, internal struggles and chronic instability grow by the minute. The Ramat David airbase leads the mission to protect the skies above this tumultuous border. IAF Site takes a look at the daily routine of the busy airbase
Ramat David airbase, located in the Jezreel Valley, is the IAF’s only mission-oriented airbase north of Tel Aviv and, as such, serves as the main defender of the skies above northern Israel. Israel’s northern front has almost always been complex and challenging, yet in recent years, following the many domestic changes in neighboring countries, especially the civil war in Syria, the likelihood of escalation has only increased.
Since 2011, the year in which the civil war in Syria broke out, the IAF has recorded a sharp spike in operational activity of combat squadrons from the airbase. “It’s amazing to see how the changes on the front affect the activities on base”, explains Staff Sergeant Li-El Doanias, an operations officer at Ramat David airbase. “The military operations here are quite extensive”.
“The dynamism of the enemy and his development require the IAF to be ready. The instability and the internal struggles on the other hand directly affect the force and Ramat David in particular”, explains Major Tomer, Deputy Commander of the Aviation squadron at the base. “There is ongoing fighting on our borders and it’s going on right next to us. The next missile they launch might find its way into Israeli territory. By the same token, their planes might breach Israeli territory, even accidently and our goal is to prevent that”.Fighter jets have only a few minutes to prepare for an interception. This preparation takes place round the clock, 24 hour a day, seven days a week and means that when the signal is given, the planes will make their way to the border in a matter of minutes.
“The great responsibility that is being placed on our shoulders demands of us a larger amount of alertness and readiness than ever before”, adds Colonel Nir. “We are there with the intention of preserving the sovereignty of the State of Israel on the northern border and to ensure that the events taking place beyond the border don’t spill into our territory”.
In recent years, significant changes have been made to the fighting doctrine on the northern airbase, which is evident in the heightened suspicion and without any extra risks.The instability in Syria, together with advances and developments of the enemy in terms of weaponry and capabilities, require that we be alert. This changes our approach”, explains Major Tomer. “Today, when we are dispatched, we are a lot more suspicious than we were ten or even five years ago. This means: flying higher, more hidden, faster and more clandestine”. This heightened alertness manifests itself in many operational flights, patrols along the northern border and reconnaissance missions.
“The trick is to continue preserving our alertness but not wear ourselves out, that is to say, to find the perfect balance”, adds Colonel Nir. The aircrews gain a high level of readiness on base through repetitive exercises and different scenarios. “To prepare the base for any situation we combine two things: one is training exercises based on different scenarios that we plan and expect to occur, but something of no less importance is the element of surprise. We surprise the squadrons of the base in scenarios different from the routine and force them to deal with the unplanned. This combination allows for the required level of skill”.
Continuing To Function
“Defending against threats that are actually on the ground has become a threat no less important than threats in the air. The hit northern Israel took during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 affected the consciousness of the base, even though it was not hit during the war”, explains Major Tomer. “Today, it is clear to us that functional continuity has to be preserved. We need to be able to go on flights, to continue to attack and to intercept and protect the skies above the country against all threats”.
To this end, a functional continuity battalion was set up. Their job is to train the officials on base during normal operations and in times of emergency. “In recent years, we have developed functional continuity: a wide spectrum from providing shelter to mental preparation”, explains Colonel Nir. The sound of sirens blaring, jet engines revving and planes taking off is familiar to anyone on base. Colonel Nir ends by saying “This might sound like a pompous statement but the people serving in Ramat David really put their heart and soul into preserving the security of the State of Israel”.