The IAF recently held a force-wide training exercise in which the force’s squadrons and units trained for multi-theatre combat. Throughout the exercise, IAF personnel were required to attack many targets in a short time, assist ground forces and even deal with missile salvos fired upon airbases

Vered Talala, Tal Giladi, Nadav Shaham & Zohar Boneh | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

A force wide exercise was recently held in the IAF and trained the force to operate in combat in the northern and Gaza theatres. Its goal was to improve the IAF’s readiness and fitness for intensive combat. “This kind of exercise allows us to train all of the force’s divisions: from the operational mission designers, through the controllers and down to the operational units in the field”, said Col. Amir, Head of the Training Department.

How will the IAF Operate in a Multi-Theatre Campaign?

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Like in Real Time
“The number of targets we received throughout the exercise was extremely high and the largest test was to maintain full operational continuity simultaneously with the operational activity”, shared Maj. Ziv, Deputy Commander of the “Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron, which operates the F-16I “Sufa” jet. “The squadron operated like it would in combat and received updated intelligence according to which the crews took off and attacked targets or completed the intelligence picture by aerial photography in the necessary theatres”.

The F-16C/D “Barak” Squadrons also operated intensively. “The exercise was challenging because there wasn’t a daily routine, everything changed non-stop and we kept receiving new missions. Although it was an exercise and not real combat, we invested the same amount of effort and by doing so – prepared ourselves for combat”, said Capt. N’ from the “First Fighter” Squadron, that performed the largest number of sorties in the exercise.

How will the IAF Operate in a Multi-Theatre Campaign?

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“Relevant in all theatres”
The IAF’s Tactical Transport Division participated in a large variety of missions, such as assistance to ground forces, aerial refueling and dropping supplies. “The bulk of our work focuses on the northern theatre, despite this, we were relevant in all of the theatres”, shared Capt. Nadav, Commander of the Operations Department of the “Knights of the Yellow Bird” Squadron, which operates the Hercules C-130 “Karnaf”.

How will the IAF Operate in a Multi-Theatre Campaign?

Photography: Guy Ashash

Protecting the Home Front
“Throughout the exercise, we were required to calculate the number of missiles in order to make them last the entire campaign and understand at what point we should shoot down the aircraft and what system should do the job”, explained Commander of the Northern Arena’s “Patriot” Battalion, Lt. Col. Roei Katz. “We were required to deploy the batteries quickly, make sure that the interception launchers would handle the high pace and that they were usable in order to shoot down the incoming aircraft before it could penetrate and attack”.

Available and Usable
Throughout the exercise, as the amount of sorties rose, the workload of the Technical Division rose accordingly. “We work as required in combat situations and train for scenarios we don’t exercise much, like long-range flight”, said SRGT. MAJ. Yossi Elmakayes, HAS Commander from the “First Jet” Squadron.

How will the IAF Operate in a Multi-Theatre Campaign?

Photography: Hagar Amibar

Activity Under Fire
Another field that was exercised was operational continuity. Throughout the exercise IAF personnel dealt with activity under fire, when missile salvos were launched at the force’s AFBs. “We significantly hurt the bases and their ability to perform their missions. We wanted to check if they can overcome the issue, and see how the force responds in order to make sure that they can continue working despite the hit”, explained Head of the Training Department.