Wing to Wing Wing to Wing Wing to Wing The moment an enemy aircraft breaches the borders of the State of Israel, IAF aircrews are likely to find themselves in flying formations involving different aircrafts in missions defending Israeli airspace. This week, wing-to-wing, the “Knights of the Double Tail” and the “First Jet” squadrons trained alongside one another, as they learned to exploit the advantages of joint flight formations

Noa Fenigstein and Michal Khayut

The moment an enemy aircraft infiltrates the skies above the State of Israel, many divisions will work shoulder-to-shoulder to intercept it: the Combat Division of the IAF will work in conjunction with the Aerial Defense Division, and the two will go out on a joint mission with the Control Division and many other planning branches. “In a situation like this, the squadrons can find themselves in multiple-aircraft flying formations”, explains First Lieutenant S’ from the “Knights of the Double Tail” squadron operating F-15 out of Tel Nof airbase, who was responsible for the joint training exercise with the “First Jet” squadron operating F-16C/D out of Ramat David airbase. “We trained for cooperation on the part of the F-15 and the F-16C/D fighters against a simulated enemy in a scenario in which we would have to defend Israeli airspace on the northern front. We flew alongside one another and not against one another”.

During the three days of training, the F-15 and F-16C/D flew in joint flying formations that were larger than usual, as they exploited the advantages of each one of the platforms and learned from each other’s way of thinking. Additionally, before and after each flight, the aircrews of both squadrons sit for joint briefings and debriefings.

The merging of two types of fighters into one flying formation creates a situation in which a group of planes can deal with a wide variety of threats. For example, the advantages of the “Barak” (F-16C/D) allow it to provide itself with good defense in electronic warfare. Additionally, modern weapons recently acquired add to its capabilities in battle. Nonetheless, its counterpart has unique striking capabilities. “The ‘Baz’ (F-15) has greater carrying capacity thanks to large amount of fuel it carries. Also, it brings unique missiles to the front”, adds First Lieutenant S’ when talking about the power of the “Baz”.