F-15, F-16I, and Gulfstream V planes met this week for a joint training exercise in which they practiced hitting targets outside the borders of Israel. The central challenge was the one facing the new aircrews in the squadron, who, for the first time ever, had to deal with a complex mission in cooperation with aircrews from another squadron and controllers in the air
Michal Khayut and Shir Cohen
The “Edge of the Spear” F-15 squadron from Tel Nof and the “Negev” F-16I squadron from Ramon met this week for a special training exercise. During the session, the aircrew members practiced flights in enemy territory and attacking targets while being surprised by enemy planes and had to respond on short notice.
In addition, aircrews from the “Dakota” squadron also took part in the training exercise. Part of their mission was to perform the controlling from the Gulfstream V planes. At the squadron, aircrews and controllers worked alongside one another and in cooperation with one another to complete the missions. In the joint training exercise, all the soldiers of the different squadrons learned to work towards a common goal. Cooperation between the pilots and the controllers among the different squadrons manifested itself not only in a joint flight: It started with the planning stage, continued with the briefing and the flight, and ended with the joint debriefing. It was through these joint activities, the two sides learned to work together. “That way, the controllers learn what they have to know in order to assist them, and on the other hand the aircrews learn what to ask for”, adds First Lieutenant Adam.
Wing to Wing
Most of the participants of the training exercise were aircrews undergoing operational training that had to learn how a complex activity of this kind is carried out. This is the first time, in which aircrew members undergoing training experienced the rush of flying in the formation of a quartet and had to know when to be assertive and when to be quiet on the two-way radio. Additionally, the meeting created a situation in which the aircrews had to learn the dynamics created in a joint flight using two different platforms to carry out a mission in cooperation. “Through this training exercise, the cadets learn to fly against an aircraft that is different from the one they know”, explains Captain Omer, from the “Edge of the Spear” squadron and who is responsible for the training exercise. “A training session like this is of great importance”.
More veteran aircrews from two fighter squadrons imitated enemy forces and, just like the Israeli forces, worked in cooperation. “That way, you have a situation in which you take to the air and you don’t know what threat you will have to cope with”, adds Captain Omer. “Which is it going to be? The F-15 of the F-16I?”