As part of a process meant to strengthen the control mission in the IAF, a Station Commanders Course was held in IAF Operational HQ over the past few months

Eitam Almadon & Illy Peeri

The Station Commanders Course in IAF Operational HQ that trains senior officers (Colonels and Brigadier Generals in reserve service) for the challenging position was completed last week. This is the second class of the course, a milestone in the training of new station commanders in the IAF. According to Maj. Maor, head of the Control Instruction and Doctrine Department in the Central Control Unit: “If, in the past, the person who planned the operation command was the one that controlled it, today the IAF is in continuous combat. We are in the air all the time, in a large number of different missions, a fact that makes the control mission critical”.

Learning to Control the Next War

Photography: Anai Salem

Planning & Control
The operational process is divided into two main processes: planning and control. The planning personnel, the department and branch commanders from the Air Operations Division write the operation commands. The control personnel, who man the control stations, headed by the station commanders, are responsible for the missions and carry out the plans.

A few dozen station commanders serve in the IAF in emergency situations and operate IAF aircraft in combat and exercises. Some of them served as AFB Commanders, some served in senior positions in IAF HQ, but almost all of them were exposed to planning and control. “Throughout the course, the students receive all of the basic knowledge necessary to work in control stations”, described Maj. Ran, Commander of the IAF Operational HQ Training Center. “They are exposed to the servicemen they will be working with in the future, familiarize themselves with the IAF’s intelligence capabilities, meet with serving station commanders and deepen their knowledge of International Humanitarian Law”.

Learning to Control the Next War

Photography: Anai Salem

Better Together
The existence of a unified course for control station commanders is an expression of a comprehensive process that has been underway over the past few years in Operational HQ with the goal of deepening the control mission in the IAF. “It is important to understand that the missions that Operational HQ leads are performed by small number of people, so there aren’t many people who can train others”, clarified Lt. Col. Ehud, Commander of the Operational HQ Academy. “With time we understood that there is an essential need for the creation of a basic unified training program for station commanders, which will be followed by personal training in the station itself”. 

“This is the most senior course in the IAF today and its composition is very heterogenic. The course’s students arrive from all of the divisions – transport, fighter, helicopters and ATC”, described Lt. Col. Ehud. “Each of the stations is different and unique and the work method in each is as well. In the course we taught the basics but after it there is still a long process of comprehensive studies”.

Learning to Control the Next War

Photography: Anai Salem

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