The year is 2030, and the IAF is in deep trouble. Investing in expensive airplanes which are late to arrive, unfinanced, with no budget for new technological systems that were just developed. The IAF is struggling to manage the various duties for which it's responsible.
The Aerial Defense Formation is trying to deal with missile attacks that threaten to approach from all fronts, while dealing with human resource shortage. Headlines of the local newspapers are fiercely protesting and let's not forget the various squadrons, all constantly worrying about upcoming battles.
This scary presentation, and the ways to avoid it, was only one of the different topics discussed at the convention of "IAF 2030" project teams, which began three years ago and has recently ended. For over three years, hundreds of IAF personnel brainstormed about different questions, conducted experiments and built the future projection of the IAF. They also had to think of solutions to various issues that could come up. New technologies, modifications of human compositions and even the environmentalissues received the creative treatment of the conference.
Change of Perspective
In a hectic organization such as the IAF, the training routine is very demanding, and operational missions can be spotted at all times in bases and in the Headquarters as well. During chaotic operations, it's hard to stop and think about what will happen next week let alone twenty years from now. "The IAF didn't have people who were ‘future experts', so we realized that we had to cooperate in a form of teamork in order to reach relevant and practical results", says Major Nimrod Segev, Head of the Long-term Planning Department in the IAF Headquarters, who is managing the entire project, "We decided to include people from the Force, because the research should be done by specific people with specific job--they are the ones who caould reach the most legitimate and relevant conclusions.
The solution was found in a form of two military courses, for new and senior officers. Toward the end of the course, nine teams were established. Each team was made of people with different jobs who worked around a specific topic according to their insignia and academic knowledge. "Each team conducted certain research about a subject, beginning with the human aspect of it and ending with the ‘red' team that examined possible complications that could be avoided", explains Major Segev. "Finally, the conclusions were presented to the Commander of the IAF, Major General Ido Nehoshtan, who decided which of them to accept.
Some of the conclusions were immediately implemented, like adding the word ‘environment' to the IAF's vision, whike some were declared as ‘future requirements' like the plan of adding academic studies as part of IAF officer and NCO service, what would make graduates more suitable for today's competitive reality. Other suggestions were rejected.
Too Much Information
The young Pilot Training Course cadets recruited last December didn't realize that they will serve the IAF for the next 20 years. What systems will they work with? What changes will come along? "As long as there will be professionalization within the Force, we'll manage. That's because the systems are becoming so advanced , complicated and take years to learn how to handle", says Major Segev.
Other subjects which will develop are cyber space, network operating and the need to handle massive amounts of information in a minimum amount of time. "Pilots will learn how to deal with a tremendous amount of information, and since there is a limit to the capability of the human knowledge processing, we'll have to count on computerized systems to aid with the reduction of information and to set priorities". It's hard to know if the future will hold systems that will tell a pilot how to fly, or if IAF bases will operate on solar energy. "There are many things we know today; the F-16 Fighting Falcon will keep on operating, and the Israeli space plans are also set for years ahead," says Major Segev. "The rest of the things we came up with are just speculations and suggestions... What is really going to happen? We'll know for sure in 2030."