The flight to here was probably one of the longest that General Juniti Saito has ever boarded. After 15 hours in the air, Commander of the Brazilian Air Force landed in Israel for a brief working visit and conversation about the burning topics of the hour. Throughout his tour of the IAF, the General met Commander of the IAF Major General Amir Eshel, visited the "First Combat" Squadron, closely examined Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at Palmachim Airbase and concluded the visit at an Iron Dome battery in the South.
"It is a great honor for us to come here, in the State of Israel", said the General. "I feel like this visit has come from the skies". Even though most of his visit revolved around working issues and developing security industries, General Saito was impressed first and foremost with the IAF. "We in Brazil admire the Israeli Air Force, there's a lot to learn from you".
A compliment like that from Commander of the Air Force of the fifth largest country in the world is significant. The variety of planes that belong to the Brazilian Air Force is particularly large, and, so it seems, are its diversity of missions: Beginning with missions to defend its country's skies and onward with search and rescue missions from the heart of the Amazons. Just last month the Brazilian Air Force participated in one of the largest "Trapping Drugs and Crime" operations the country has ever known. Throughout the operation the force assisted in searching for drug smugglers in the forests and supported ground forces that bombed illegal drug fields.
On a daily basis, the Brazilian Air Force operates more than 15 types of planes and helicopters, including UAVs and advanced weapon systems produced by the security industries in Israel. General Saito himself, by the way, has flown a significant number of the force's planes throughout his service and has logged in over 6000 flight hours on combat and transport planes. Aside from being commander of the force, General Saito is known in Brazil thanks to a record he had broken: He is the first person in the country to be born to Japanese parents and reach such a high ranking in the military.