General Cezary Wisniewski, the Polish Air Force Inspector, recently visited the Israeli Air Force and toured its bases. On the agenda: strengthening the ties between the forces and mutual learning regarding the “Lavi” (M-346) instruction aircraft

Ofri Aharon & Tal Giladi

As part of a process to strengthen the IAF’s ties with foreign air force’s for the purpose of learning, training and mutual discussion, General Cezary Wisniewski, the Inspector of the Polish Air Force, visited Israel. General Wisniewski visited Palmahim AFB where he toured the IAF’s UAV Division and Hatzerim AFB in which the discussion focused on maintenance and instruction alongside operational matters. General Wisniewski also visited a number of companies and Israeli security industries hubs. General Wisniewski was accompanied by the Polish Commander of the 4th Air Training Wing, Commander of the 12th Base of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Chief of the Air Combat Branch.

Polish Air Force Inspector Visits Israel

Photography: Celia Garion

Among the Participants of the “Blue-Flag”: the Polish Air Force
“You have developed aviation, new technologies and advanced training techniques”, said General Wisniewski. “I hope to continue and maintain our productive cooperation with the Israeli Air Force, especially in light of the fact that we operate a few similar flight platforms”.

The Polish Air Force is also required to adapt itself to developing technology and changing threats. “We hold cooperation training exercises between helicopters and UAVs and look for manned platforms that will be able to gather visual, electronic and signal intelligence”, he added. “We are here to learn how you succeed to train pilots and WSOs at a high level and with advanced systems such as simulators and the ‘Lavi’ (M-346) and see how you manage to perform so many sorties a day”, he said with a smile. “In Poland we perform about two sorties a day”.

The cooperation between the Israeli and Polish Air Force will be realized in the coming November, when Ouvda AFB will host various air forces for the traditional “Blue-Flag” Training Exercise in which foreign and local air forces train together. The Polish Air Force will participate in this exercise.

Polish Air Force Inspector Visits Israel

Photography: Celia Garion

The Trainer
Past June, present and future operators of the M-346 instruction jet, among them representatives of the Israeli, Italian and Polish Air Force, congregated in Hatzerim AFB for a conference which dealt with maintenance, instruction and operation of the aircraft. The Polish Air Force is expected to begin integrating the Italian instruction aircraft in the coming months.

During his visit, General Wisniewski performed a sortie from the backseat of a “Lavi”. In addition, he met the commanders of the “Flying Tiger” Squadron, which operates the “Lavi” and trains the IAF’s fighter pilots and WSOs upon graduation from flight school and before joining operational squadrons. They discussed the advantages of the aircraft and the innovation it has brought to the world of flight instruction.

Polish Air Force Inspector Visits Israel

Photography: Celia Garion

General Wisniewski asked how training performed on the “Lavi” in preparation for flying operational fighter aircraft such as the F-16, is more efficient and shorter than training performed on the “Netz” (F-16A/B) as was performed in the past. He also took interest in the instruction jet’s capabilities to simulate complex scenarios such as a-symmetric landing for the young pilots. The Polish Air Force’s fighter pilots and WSOs are trained in simulators in the U.S and are required to perform about 90 flight hours from the moment they graduate flight school in order to become operational aircrew members.

The first Israeli aircrew members who trained on the “Lavi” have recently joined the “Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron, which operates the “Sufa” (F-16I). During the visit, the Squadron Commander explained to the general that “For the pilots, transitioning from the ‘Barak’ (F-16C/D) to the ‘Sufa’ (F-16I) is more difficult than the transition from a ‘Lavi’ to operational aircraft. The cadets rehearse landing in simulators and maneuvering and landing abilities, among the most important for pilots, are acquired quickly”.

Polish Air Force Inspector Visits Israel

Photography: Celia Garion

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