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US Navy Cooperates With Israeli Forces Release date 16.08.2015
Israeli squadrons took part in a unique training exercise dealing with marine SAR (Search And Rescue) and evacuation as part of the joint training program of the Israeli Air Force and Navy and the American Navy
Shachar Zorani

As part of IDF's international cooperation program, the "Reliant Mermaid" joint training exercise of the Israeli Navy and a naval force of the U.S. 6th Fleet, came to an end. Israeli missile boats sailed alongside the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer of the US Navy and practiced various search and rescue missions.

Aerial forces have also joined the exercise, the main of which were the naval patrol "Panther" helicopters. The "Panthers" are custom for landing on the Israeli "Sa'ar 5" missile boats and are equipped with powerful radars which generate a wide naval picture for the marine forces. "The exercise revolved around search and rescue missions and various rescuing methods were practiced ", said Lieutenant Amit from the "Defenders of the West" squadron which was in charge of the aerial part of the exercise.

Other IAF aircraft have also taken part in the drill: Forces aboard the Hercules C-130 airplane dropped inflatable boats from the air to the sea in order to help survivors at sea and "Black Hawk" aircrews assisted in searching and evacuation with the 669 SAR unit operators. "What makes this exercise special is the cooperation with the American destroyer", said Lieutenant Shahak, A pilot from the "Rolling Sword" squadron. "We simulated a scenario where we need to pick up survivors from the sea and transfer them to ships with supply and medical staff. We usually evacuated from the ship to hospitals and this is the first time we practiced lowering a wounded person from the helicopter to a ship".

"Reliant Mermaid" is not the first training exercise to combine air and water. The IAF takes part in a variety of US-Israel naval exercises which strengthen the relationship between the countries and train the forces to work together. "During May we conducted the 'Nobel Dina' exercise together with the American Navy. Unlike 'Reliant Mermaid', the focus was then put on anti-submarine warfare", added Lieutenant Amit.

"White" Force Alongside "Blue" Force
Apart from international cooperation, the cooperation between the IAF and the Israeli Navy is also an utmost issue for the forces. A joint work plan has been institutionalized over the past years to deepen the cooperation between the forces and set Joint working procedures.

Major General Amir Eshel, IAF commander, recently paid a visit to Navy facilities to get a firsthand impression of the capabilities of the "White" force. "The cooperation between the sea and the sky enhances IDF's capabilities. Each force brings its own power, capabilities and platforms", he said.
The "Defender
s of the West" squadron is the clearest example of the cooperation between the forces. "We are completely subordinate to the IAF and yet we focus on defending the coasts of Israel and assisting the Navy with attack missions", said Major Avishai, squadron's deputy commander, to IAF Magazine. "Our squadron's activity derives from the Navy's and vice versa, requiring efficient operational synchronization and continuous, productive interaction".

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Photo by: The "Defenders of the West" squadron