The IAF held an intensive training exercise for a scenario in which the force has to attack many targets at a high pace. All of the IAF’s squadrons, division and units took part in the exercise and carried out the mission in cooperation

Shachar Zorani, Nadav Shaham, Tal Giladi and Eliya Levitan | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

The IAF held a particularly intensive training exercise which trained the force for an all-out war scenario, in which Israel would be attacked by intensive rocket salvos from multiple theatres simultaneously and in which the IAF would be required to attack many targets at a high pace.

“The exercise’s goal was to improve the IAF’s ability to attack relevant targets at a high pace and is part of a process of building full operational capability of this ability”, explained Col. Or, Head of the Training Department. “This is the first exercise to combine the operational process of the mission: from planning the missions, division of the order of power, recon and planning the targets and destinations”.

The main issues that were exercised were frontline attacks, flying under SAM threats, depth attacks and aerial supremacy. “The challenge was to execute the whole complex process. It was important for us to identify the bottlenecks and failures, in order to improve the process and improve the ability until it is fully operational”, explained Col. Or.

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“An exercise like never before”
The significance of the intensive operational model for the technical divisions of the fighter jets squadrons was hanging bombs and missiles and sending them out as fast as possible. “In this type of scenario, the HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelters) arm in a fast pace, send out jet after jet”, shared Maj. Tamir, the technical officer of the “Bat” Squadron which operates the “Sufa” (F-16I) jets. “In this exercise, we allocated a HAS for each squadron to work as per usual and prepare aircraft for missions other than attacks. The IAF understands that other than attacks, the force’s aircraft need to carry out multiple missions simultaneously and that we need to be ready for them all at the same time”.

One of the complicated missions trained for in the exercise, which is named “IAF Scenario Day”, was fighting in an area threatened by SAM Batteries, which the IAF aggressor squadron was responsible for. “The exercise gave us an opportunity to train like never before. Many different kinds of scenarios were practiced, every division participated”, explained Capt. Linir Zamir, Aerial Defense Officer in the Aggressor Squadron.

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High Quality ATC
“IAF Scenario Day” didn’t skip over any unit or division – from the flight squadrons, through the ATC (Air Traffic Control) division and to the supporting divisions. Throughout the exercise, the ATC Division personnel worked nonstop in order to synchronize the aircraft in the sky and manage the aerial space.

While aircraft took off one after the other, executed attack sorties and recon missions, the air traffic controllers managed the connection between the different elements and made sure that the different missions were conducted safely by creating a continuous circle through which they conveyed the different protocols, commands and updates.

“We were responsible for the aircraft’s missions accordingly with the control station’s orders. We had to confirm the targets, make sure that the aircrews are familiar with all the data and allow the information to flow”, said Lt. Yanir, an Air Control Officer. “Our duty was to maintain the combat continuity and allow many actions to be carried out in short times”, added Lt. Moshe, an Air Traffic Controller from the ATC Unit in Ouvda AFB.

The current “IAF Scenario Day” challenged the ATC units: besides the limited area of the training exercise, the fog and poor visibility created another challenge. “The large amount of aircraft, the strained work in short times and the synchronization between the different missions in the theatre, were a complex challenge”, shared Maj. Roei, Head of the Training Department in the ATC Division. “We operated in an operational area full of different threats and in poor weather. We had to make sure that every aircraft reaches its destination as quickly as possible while keeping it safe”.

 

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Photo by: Hagar Amibar