The IDF Commando Brigade may be new, but in the past year it managed to hold two extensive brigade training exercises, one of which was held last week. The IAF had a significant part in the exercise and helped the Commando Brigade perform their mission
The IDF’s Commando Brigade was established with the goal of creating a spearhead force made up of spec ops units that will serve as a depth force. “There is no depth without air”, stated Maj. Liran, IAF representative in the Brigade. “The simple reason is that you cannot access deep enemy territory by foot, you need an aerial force to fly you in”.
The exercise simulated a multi-arena scenario in which the participants faced different terror organizations. In each of the arenas the soldiers faced the different conditions, enemies and possible scenarios typical of the arena. By doing so, the brigade, hand in hand with IAF forces that participated, designed an intensive exercise.
Private to Brigade Commander
The Commando Brigade was established as an aerial infantry brigade. Sounds like an oxymoron? Maj. Liran says otherwise. “We don’t divide battles into an act performed by the IAF and an act performed by the infantry. We look at it as a complex event that is partly aerial and partly ground based. We don’t cooperate, we operate as one”.
In order to create such unity, the IAF’s Cooperation Unit works to achieve true acquaintance between the sides, from Private to Brigade Commander. The goal: to understand how the aerial force works as well as possible, an understanding that will make the mutual activity easier and maintain a high level of professionalism. “Because there is no commando without aerial assistance, we have to make sure that the cooperation between the IAF and the brigade is close”, shared Maj. Liran. “My role is to participate in the brigade’s battle management process and operate as a bridge between the different mindsets”.
“There are two different situations that collide here: on one hand you have an infantryman lying wounded in the field and on the other hand you have an aircrew member in the squadron who needs to land in the middle of a battle in 15 minutes”, described Maj. Liran, who is an aircrew member from the “Knights of the Yellow Bird” Squadron.
Bringing the Sky and the Ground Together
Similarly to the former Commando Brigade Exercise, the IAF was a full participant this year as well. Dozens of aircraft from all IAF divisions took part: transport helicopters extracted, tactical transport aircraft transported forces and equipment while emphasizing heavy load flight, UAVs and light transport aircraft performed surveillance and recon sorties while communicating the information to the force in the field and combat helicopters provided air support.
“The unity between the aerial and ground forces just rises with time”, concluded Maj. Liran. “We performed very well in the exercise and I think that we helped the infantrymen understand the aerial arena and bring the sky and ground together”.