A comprehensive, force-wide exercise in which all of the IAF’s divisions trained for combat in the northern theatre was held last week. From striking targets and gathering intelligence, through arming aircraft while dealing with unexpected events and to comprehensive defense of the home front
A comprehensive training exercise that trained all IAF units and prepared them for combat in the northern theatre was held last week. In its center stood an inspection, with the purpose of testing and improving the IAF’s ability to attack many targets in a short time. Cooperation with various ground forces that held exercise simultaneously was also emphasized.
Photography: Celia Garion
The Goal: To Raise the Amount & Shorten the Time
“We began with a briefing after which the squadron was divided into two teams: one for planning and one for flying”, explained Capt. Shay from the “Hammers” Squadron that operates the “Ra’am” (F-15I). “The planning team operated from the ground and received the attack targets from HQ. They then created plans according to these targets and communicated the plans and threats to the flying team”.
During the exercise, IAF attack helicopters attacked many target in an area designed to simulate Lebanon. Their partners, transport helicopters, were required to transport large amounts of combatants into deep “enemy territory” and extract downed aircrews.
Photography: Mor Tzidon
Directing the Force from the Air and the Ground
The IAF’s UAV Division participated in multiple reconnaissance and surveillance missions. “We receive intelligence, scan the suspicious area, find the targets and communicate the information to the fighter jets in real time. We rehearsed this scenario many times in the exercise, mostly in cooperation with the F-16 division”, shared Lt. Hadar from the “White Eagle” Squadron that operates the “Eitan” (Heron TP).
In order to attack massive amount of targets, many aircraft are required, as a result, the ATC Division’s activity is of crucial importance in such scenarios. The northern ATC Unit operated non-stop and dealt with surprises and changes that required maximum vigilance and cooperation between the stations.
“It began like a war”, shared Lt. M’ from the “Elephants” Squadron, which operated the tactical transport “Shimshon” (Super Hercules C-130J). The “Elephants” Squadron, along with the IAF’s other tactical transport squadrons, took a significant part in the training exercise and emphasized intensive activity alongside cooperation. “We rehearsed many scenarios in which we parachuted Special Forces during the day and at night”.
Defending the Home Front
In the exercise, the Aerial Defense Division emphasized continuous defense. “In order to perform the interception mission with no gaps, we have to provide continuous defense”, emphasized Lt. Col. Ofer Levi, Commander of the Aerial Defense Division’s new and combined Maintenance Squadron. “In an arms factory that focused on continuous defense, we concentrated on producing a mix of different munitions according to our requirements as fast and safely as possible. For the maintenance squadron, continuous defense is a central element in routine and in emergency”.
Another unique element for the Aerial Defense Division in the exercise was the “David’s Sling” Battalion’s establishment exercise. “We feel that the exercise was positive and that we rehearsed every part of warfare”, said Maj. Raffi Dahan, Commander of the “David’s Sling” Battalion’s Operations Division. “We finished with a lot of insights and improvements, but thanks to the quality of our personnel, we are confident that we will rise up and meet the missions we set for ourselves”.