The IAF’s commando unit’s new training facility that was opened last week sets a new precedent for the training concept in the unit and gives its operators an urban environment to train in for their missions

Eilon Tohar & Nadav Shaham | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

After a two year long process in cooperation with many elements in the IAF and outside it, a new training facility that will serve “Shaldag”, the IAF’s commando unit, was inaugurated. The facility realistically simulates an urban battlefield and includes structures and alleys in which the commando operators will train for their classified missions.

A Peek into “Shaldag’s” New Training Facility

A new “Shaldag” training facility has been inaugurated | Photography: Ayelet Eder

The facility is only the first step in a process meant to strengthen the unit’s training and qualification: next year, a second training facility is expected to be inaugurated and focus on live fire training. According to Brig. Gen. N, Palmahim AFB Commander (in which the unit is positioned) the new facility expresses the base’s slogan and mission: “Cooperation Wins”.

“Whoever thinks far – will go far and whoever thinks big – will achieve big results. There were young and stubborn people here who thought very far”, said Col. Boaz Hershkovitz, the IAF’s Special Aerial Forces Commander, in the new facilities ribbon cutting ceremony. “We made history here and I personally, learned a lesson in vision and forward thinking. The new facility doesn’t only meet IAF standards, but is an example for all of the IDF”.

A Peek into “Shaldag’s” New Training Facility

“The new facility doesn’t only meet IAF standards, but is an example for all of the IDF” | Photography: Ayelet Eder

Additional Facilities to be Established in the IDF
About four months ago, Lt. General Gadi Eizenkot, the Chief of the General Staff, visited the facility while it was in construction. He was impressed with the facility’s uniqueness and its relatively low cost and as a result, decided to establish similar training facilities outside the IAF.

“The new facility will improve our training and allow us to simulate urban warfare as realistically as possible”, explained Lt. Col. I’, “Sahldag” Unit Commander. “When looking left and right, you understand the strength of this project and its significance to the unit. The flexibility we receive in operational activity and especially in training is immense and here it is – right before us”.

The facility is expected to serve the unit’s operators in many of their general training days. “The ‘Shaldag’ unit’s urban warfare requirements and the goals the IAF sets for us, require unique training. We wanted to improve the accessibility and level of the facilities we used up until now”, explained Maj. A, the unit’s Deputy Commander. “The new training facility is geographically close to us, it is can be used multiple times and offers complex training with the assistance of unique elements that exist only here. Additionally, there is an option to combine aerial forces in the training: the roof of one of the structures is suited for landing soldiers from transport helicopters by means of ropes and UAVs are also expected to take part in the exercises”.

A Peek into “Shaldag’s” New Training Facility

As a result of the facility’s uniqueness and relatively low cost it was decided to establish similar training facilities outside the IAF | Archive Photo