UAVs are a developing field in the IAF and outside of it and are one of the main threats that occupy IAF personnel. How does the Air Traffic Division perceive this threat and what does it do to deal with it?

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Last week, ATC (Air Traffic Control) Division personnel in active and reserve service met for a discussion about past wars and the one that they are expected to face in the future. “The next war will be different and bring us to the edge”, said Col. Eran, Commander of the ATC Division. “It will be characterized by a rapid rate of change, internal change among us and among our enemies who is changing and becoming stronger. We will have to be mentally prepared for the possibility of operation in uncertainty, while facing many threats”.

Preparing for the UAV Threat

Interception of a UAV in southern Israel, October 2010 | Archive Photo

A Main Threat: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
“Wars aren’t what they used to be”, asserted Lt. Col. Yossi, Commander of the Network Centric Warfare Branch in the Air Operations Division. “We aren’t talking about Military vs. Military warfare anymore, the UAV threat is rising in relevance, we will not have leeway and we expect the systems that we work with to be blocked”.

“The arena will be overloaded and there will be surprises”, said Lt. Col. Roy, Commander of the Northern ATC Unit. “The threat is changing – it will be low signature and small. If we would have seen this kind of target a year ago, we would probably perceived it differently than we do today. We are obligated to adapt ourselves to the arena and create comprehensive integration – in our systems, identification and action”.

Preparing for the UAV Threat

A Hezbollah “Ababil” UAV that was shot down by the IAF in 2006 | Archive Photo

“Aim for the perfect achievement”
Throughout the day, ATC Division personnel presented conclusion from earlier incidents and understood how to improve in the next incident. “A penetrating UAV can catch you anywhere”, Lt. Col. Roy referred to one of the central threats the ATC Division currently faces. “We must take aircraft identification into consideration and the sooner we identify the platform, the more impact we have. We aim for the perfect achievement, because each success or failure has an operational and psychological effect”.

Preparing for the UAV Threat

ATC Personnel | Archive Photo

Human Resources
“Our most important resource is the young people, they are those that will manage the next campaign”, explained Lt. Col. Yossi. “We have to demand more from our people and raise the level of the people sitting behind the screen”.

“Our job is to win the next war”, concluded Col. Eran. “Victory leans on preparedness and mostly on spirit and people. We have a winning team that I trust will do a good job in real time”.