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Sudden Event Training Release date 28.03.2018
The IAF Attack Helicopter Division prepares for sudden threats to Israel's security through various preparatory scenarios
Nuphar Blitt

In the beginning of February, Israel saw a number of operational events: an enemy UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) interception, attack of a control station in Syrian territory, a pilot ejection from a "Sufa" (F-16I) fighter jet and the attack of Syrian aerial defense batteries. This Saturday, an IAF "Saraf" (Apache Longbow) attack helicopter from the 113th ("Hornet") Squadron, which operates from Ramon AFB, intercepted an Iranian UAV. The UAV was launched from Syria in an attempt to infiltrate Israel's territory.

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Top Priority
"The Attack Helicopter Division's top priority is to provide air support during operational events and wartime", said Capt. S', an officer at the Routine Security Department and a pilot at the 190th ("Magic Touch") Squadron, which operates "Peten" (Apache) helicopters. The division has an advantage: "From the helicopter, we can see the target with our own eyes. It's easier for us to focus on small targets", explained Capt. S'. "Attack helicopters have other advantages as well, such as their ability to fly in non-optimal weather".

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Planning and Developing
The Helicopter Training Unit is responsible for preparing aircrews for missions such as the recent UAV interception in the north, as well as planning and developing combined training exercises. "Our job is to prepare the IAF's Helicopter Division for wartime by developing training exercises in Israel and across the world", explained Maj. A'. "The pilot has to know how to launch a certain missile at the right altitude, at the right place and at the right speed. We provide the pilot with the necessary tools".

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Between Training and Real-Time
In recent years, there has been a rise in border defense training exercises in the IAF. Border defense events are unexpected and require a quick response. The aircrew members drill a variety of scenarios in order to prepare for such events. “We outline various fields and drill different scenarios in each one in order to be as prepared as possible”, described Maj. A’. “We rely on military intelligence and past events to creatively predict the enemy’s modes of operation”.

The cooperation between the different units raises challenges, one of them being communication - the forces are required to use a mutual language. “For example, a police helicopter may spot a terrorist cell and follow it, using a regular road map of Israel. IAF helicopters do not have road maps featuring road names. This makes it difficult for the police to relay the exact location of the terrorist cell”, explained Maj. A’.

Photography: Koral Dvir

“Radio communication, flight methods and the aircraft's controls – all these are identical during training exercises and operations”, shared Capt. S’, who believes that the results of the training exercises are measured in real-time scenarios. “The real difference is the mental and emotional factor. During a real operation, there is mounting pressure and excitement".

“We know exactly what will occur during the training exercise scenarios because we operate the ground forces simulating the enemy”, concluded Capt. A’. “The IAF puts these exercises at the top of its priorities – these scenarios are likely to happen, and it is imperative that we prepare accordingly”.