Soldiers serving in “Hatzerim” Airbase returned from their holiday vacation and were immediately required to fulfill an intensive task, simulating war scenarios
Shachar Zorani | Translation: Ofri Aharon
Soldiers serving in “Hatzerim” didn’t have time to recollect themselves after their holiday vacation and were immediately forced to deal with stressful and unanticipated scenarios. As they came back to their routine, an especially challenging exercise started. Over the course of three days, its participants prepped in activity days in which they reenacted emergency scenarios and complex missions that reflected war. Major Yaniv, the deputy commander of the Aviation Squadron in the Airbase said: “The entire base became a ‘battlefield’ from end to end and involved aircrew members and technicians, maintenance and construction squadron”.
“The timing was incredibly risky”
The activity days that were exercised on the airbase surprised the participants, as no one expected to have such intensive activity days immediately after the vacation. “It was a mental practice,” explain Major Yaniv. Lieutenant Machmad Zidan, the Training Division Commander on airbase added, “the timing was extremely risky. After a long break, the soldiers need to assimilate. The activity days were incredibly intense.”
Throughout the activity days, both ground and air scenarios were practiced together. They practiced emergency scenarios that required a dispatch of ground defense forces and construction and infrastructure units, as well as protection over Israeli airspace and attacks over Israel. “Our main goal was to improve the functional continuity in compliance with the lessons learned in the last exercise as well as from Protective Edge,” explained Lt. Machmad. “The scenarios are diverse, ranging from system shut downs, to arming exercise and several runway incidents such as complications with planes.” “We practiced attacks in the day time and at night, as well as air-to-air combat”, explained Lieutenant Saar, the leader of the activity from the “Hammers” Squadron.
Another goal was to train as many people as possible, especially those who never experienced such exercises in the past. “We created a mental scenario in a hardened aircraft shelter, where the commander participated for the first time,” Lieutenant Saar explained.
As such, most of the participants were reservists who are also not used to dealing with such difficult activities in their day-to-day life. “The reservists were not used to flying for days at a time as well as dealing with such unanticipated events,” said Lieutenant Saar. “They didn’t know what to expect and were put under a lot of stress. Usually, reservists undergo briefings and know exactly what scenario they will be reenacting”.
Relevant and Realistic
The activity days were part of the scheduled activities in the yearly plan, as it dealt with Israel’s ever changing reality and the relevant challenges. “The activity was planned in advance but the content was adapted to the current situation”, stated Major Yaniv. “For example, we exercised scenarios such as leakage of bombs from Gaza and Egypt”.
In addition to aerial scenarios, ground scenarios were exercised. As the security situation in Israel is sensitive, whether because of planned terror attacks or because of attacks carried out by a single force, the soldiers put extra emphasis on scenarios of these kinds. “We paid attention to the current safety situation and reenacted different ready alert scenarios, and trained ground scenarios”, shared Deputy Machmad