Soldiers in mandatory service, career officers and reservists arrived at the “Hermes 450” UAV squadron in order to execute a challenging and classified mission, as a part of which the squadron members were required to operationalize a new system in an unprecedented period of time. A race against the clock

Eilon Tohar | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

Thursday, 1:30 AM. A ring sounds from the squadron’s technical officer’s phone. The officer, Maj. Avi, learns about an operational mission designated for the squadron, in which it will use a new intelligence gathering system which wasn’t planned to be officially operationalized by the squadron until next year.

“From that moment, a race against the clock began”, remembers Maj. Avi, a few days after he carried out the complex mission. “It began with discussions, continued with bringing the system in, including the final tests, and was concluded the next day with the completion of the mission. In 24 hours the aircraft was in the air – an unprecedented period of time for the operationalization of a completely new system which was not used by the squadron before. We didn’t believe we would be able to ready the aircraft so quickly”.

Maj. Avi wasn’t alone: by the morning, the squadron members from the flight and technical divisions were alerted and summoned to the squadron from home. From an officer who arrived quickly, through a Lt. Col. Over the age of 40 which arrived in order to provide assistance to soldiers in mandatory service determined to take part and contribute.
“I didn’t hear a single complaint from any of them, everyone was devoted to the mission with a spark in their eyes. In cooperation with the officers and reservists, we were able to complete the mission in an incredibly short period of time”.

How to Operationalize a System in 24 Hours

“Hermes 450”

One Goal: Defending the Country
“This is a squadron with a rich history and many unique events in its past, and this is without a doubt one of them”, declared Maj. L, deputy commander of the squadron. “It is no less than exceptional to operationalize an intelligence gathering system in a day and also have operational products. People arrived at the expense of their free time with one purpose in mind: defending the country”.

The UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Division, one of the most operational divisions in the IAF, which is considered an evolving and developing division technologically and operationally, is ready for the possibility of leaving for a mission in any sector, at
all times.

“As the deputy commander of a UAV squadron, every time that there is an escalation, I know that we are facing a complex period, but on the other hand I keep in mind that we have the best people, be it our operators, technical serviceman or reservists”, adds Maj. L.

The squadron maintained full ready alert, the operational readiness was practiced and the amount of intelligence which flowed to the squadron decided the type of missions it took off on. Capt. A, one of the Squadron’s deputy commanders, reports that the number of operational sorties that weekend was three times more than usual. “After all, we couldn’t have executed it without the devotion of the technical crews. Every time a UAV landed, the technicians quickly approached it and prepared it for another sortie”.

How to Operationalize a System in 24 Hours

“Hermes 450”