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IAF Holds International UAV Course Release date 14.04.2015
Expending international cooperation: Italian and American UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle) operators arrived at the IAF UAV School for a course aimed at introducing the Israeli UAV operational activity
Noa Fenigstein & Nadav Berger | Translation: Eden Sharon

The UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle) School of the IAF recently opened up its gates for Italian and American UAV operators who arrived at the Palmachim Airbase with the aim of familiarizing themselves with the Israeli UAV activity. The two-week course included lessons and joint missions with the "Hermes 450" and "Hermes 900". The foreign operators learned the unique work methods of the IAF, a part of its combat doctrine and the division of roles in the mission station.

The course is part of the IAF efforts to strengthen cooperation with overseas counterparts and positioning the school as an international center of knowledge for UAVs. This is not the first time foreign operators arrive at the UAV School, but it's the first course that combines two foreign forces together - the Italian Air Force and the US Marine Corps. The international format will be held once a year and with additional foreign forces.

"The course objective is to share with our military partners, the UAV-related knowledge we have collected over the years", explains Major (Res.) Idan, Course Commander. "The participants are experienced operators who fly advanced platforms and therefore we did not focus on new missions and training but rather on different ways to deal with our similar missions".

Learning from the Differences
The foreign operators experienced the various work methods of their counterparts with the ultimate goal of applying relevant methods to their units. "We wanted to witness how other UAV communities around the world deal with their operational challenges", explained Jonathan, UAV operator of the US Marines Corps. "We wish to assimilate the knowledge and share it with our soldiers in the units. It is an excellent way to prepare for challenges we might face in the future".

One of the most significant differences between the Israeli operational methods and the foreign ones is the staff participating in action.
While the Israeli mission station houses an operator and a mission commander (senior operator) the station of Italian Air Force and American Marines holds at least three crew members.

"For the same task, we would use three men and the IAF would use one", says Captain Michael, Marines UAV operator. In addition, unlike the IAF, foreign UAV forces use additional crew members outside the station during the mission. "The relatively small number of team members gives you significant flexibility in carrying out the mission, efficiency and cost saving".


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Photo by: Gui Ashash