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Bullseye Release date 04.09.2017
A main goal in the field of guided munitions is optimal management of the munitions at hand. The WSOs (Weapon Systems Officer) train in the management of munitions at the AMC (Aerial Munitions Center) in Hatzor AFB and the training is as realistic and professional as an actual flight
Illy Pe'ery

Ever since its establishment, Hatzor AFB has been the center for training and simulation in guided munition. Today, the airbase functions as a central resource for all information regarding aerial munitions, both guided and autonomous. “Simulation in the IAF has grown considerably over the last decade, largely thanks to the technological and instructional capabilities it provides”, said Maj. Danny, Head of the Combat and Transport Training Division. “Each simulator allows for a variety of training courses - some mission-related, some emergency-related and some weaponry-related. These are an inseparable part of an aircrew member’s training process”.

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The Operational Theater
On the training day, the trainees arrive at the AMC and undergo a thorough instructional process related to the flight - only afterwards do they undergo the simulation itself. The sorties begin with the aircraft already airborne and the teams train in the management of the munition from the moment of its launch. The instructor is in charge of flying the aircraft and communicating with the WSO, testing the trainee and putting him up to complex operational dilemmas.

When the training sessions simulate actual fields of operation, the complexity of the simulation takes on a whole new meaning. The simulator at the AMC is a mission-oriented simulator, meant to mimic operational missions, while taking the field of operation and operational dilemmas which arise during the flight into consideration. “Getting to know the field of operation during the simulation is crucial for performing the mission correctly”, said Maj. Amnon, a WSO at the “Scorpion” Squadron, which operates “Barak” (F-16C/D) aircraft. “Dealing with the topography, the operational elements and the various system updates makes the training sessions relevant and accurate”.

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Both Together and Apart
A cooperation between the WSO and the pilot is an integral part of the mission’s success. The WSO’s role has changed over the years - they are now not only responsible for navigating the aircraft, but also for high-speed data processing and the management of guided munitions.

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The pilots have maintained their original position of flying the aircraft, but the new systems added to the aircraft over the years, along with the overflow of data arriving at the cockpit during sorties, have expanded upon the complexity of the pilot’s task. “During a sortie, I am in charge of the flight itself - I can’t manage the bomb at the same time”, explained Capt. Jonathan, a pilot at the “Scorpion” Squadron. “That is why the cockpit is separated in missions which require guided munitions - the pilot deals with threats to the aircraft and arrival at the target, while the WSO’s main job is to successfully bomb the target”.

Maj. Danny looks ahead: “We expect that in a number of years, the AMC will be an instructional center for all weapon platforms, which will allow for the best simultaneous training possible as well as the highest mission success rate”.