The enhancement of cooperation between the “Patriot” batteries and the combat squadrons is manifested in training exercises aimed at stretching the limits of both sides and prepare them for the ever-changing challenges of the modern battlefield
The cooperation between the IAF Combat squadrons and the Air Defense Division is crucial for the preparedness of both sides for fighting in the modern battlefield. The “Patriot” batteries and combat squadrons share a joint cause – protecting the skies of Israel.
The cooperation has strengthened even further recently, this time in the field of practice. During the training exercises, the “Patriot” soldiers are attempting to shoot down the enemy planes that try to penetrate their area, while the fighter jets are facing a different mission – maneuvering and “attacking” the missile launchers. So the competition begins.
Analyzing the Enemy’s Behavior
“Their job is to penetrate our territory and attack us and our mission is of course to defend the region”, explains Lt. Col. Roee Katz, the commander of the Northern “Patriot” Brigade. “Both sides try to find the other’s weak points. The combat squadrons learns to improve the attack capabilities against SAM batteries and we get to improve our interception capacity”.
The joint exercises allow the Air Defense Division to practice the whole operational process of interception a target in the best way. “We want that every air defense brigade would have a combat squadron to train it”, says Colonel Gershon Zlotnik, commander of the Sky Defense Division. “This practice is vital for the ‘Patriot’ Division”.
Coming Soon: Cooperation with UAV Squadrons
Other flight platforms will soon cooperate with the “Patriot” batteries under the same goal – readying the division for dealing with a large variety of threats. “We want to continue practice with platforms which simulate threats that rapidly become real”, continues Colonel Zlotnik. “That is why we are going to expend our cooperation to include UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) squadrons”.
The “Patriot” division has proven to be effective against the unmanned threat in the past year. During Operation “Protective Edge” and for the first time since the defense system has joined the IAF, the batteries operators intercepted an UAV that penetrated Israeli territory. A few weeks later, the soldiers shot down a second one in north Israel.