The IAF’s Transport Helicopter Squadrons recently exercised as opponents: squadrons from the division dealt with extreme scenarios and exercised their central mission in order to win the coveted title: Transport Helicopter Champion
Nadav Shaham and Vered Talala | Translation: Ofri Aharon
An inseparable part of the IAF’s activity is hidden in the competitiveness of its servicemen and women. Every division in the IAF holds an annual competition in which each squadron or unit tries to prove its supremacy over its comrades (who become opponents for the day) and carry the coveted title of the champions.
This year’s Transport Helicopter Olympics were held recently. In the competition, the CH-35 and “Blackhawk” squadrons competed for the crown and had to face a wide variety of missions, launches, rescues and navigations in order to win the coveted title: the Champions of the Helicopter Division.
“The missions conducted in the competition are the Transport Helicopter Division’s central missions. We take the competition very seriously and want to prove to ourselves and the other Transport Helicopter Squadrons that we conduct the missions in the best way possible”, stated Lt. Yuval, a pilot in the “Rolling Sword” Squadron that operates the “Blackhawk” Helicopter.
Photo by: Hagar Amibar
Although they are both transport helicopters, the CH-53 from the “Nocturnal Birds” Squadron and “Leaders of the Night” Squadron in comparison to the “Blackhawk” from the “Desert Birds” Squadron and the “Rolling Sword” Squadron, are different aircraft and each of them has different missions, advantages and disadvantages. The CH-53 is bigger and can carry more equipment and larger weight loads for longer periods of times. In comparison, the “Blackhawk” is smaller and hides better in the field.
This fact didn’t make the division’s personnel try any less in any of the missions they performed in the competition. The division’s personnel believe that the competition, that combines operational elements, threatened flight and navigational elements, will improve their abilities in the battlefield. “This is a little different than regular training sortie”, emphasized Maj. N’ from the “Leaders of the Night” Squadron. “In a routine training sortie, we try to come as close as possible to what is written in the combat doctrine. In the competition, we do whatever we can in order to win, within the safety limits. We have to be creative and quick in conducting the mission”.
“We split the competition into four playgrounds: two playgrounds for search and two for rescue. The search playgrounds focused on locating survivors and the rescue playgrounds focused on the different theaters while suiting the threats unique to each one”, explained Capt. M, Department Officer of Helicopter exercises.
“Two helicopters from the squadron split in order to locate the soldiers in two valleys. The faster it was done, the more points they got”, added Maj. Oren from the “Leaders of the Night” Squadron. “In the second sortie they were sent to rescue injured people, each helicopter is teamed up with a different force and evacuate injured people as quickly as possible. If we could not complete missions in time, we got points taken off”.
Congratulations to this year’s winners: The “Nocturnal Birds”, CH-53 Squadron from Tel-Nof AFB.