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Multi-theatre Combat Exercise Release date 08.06.2018
This week, the IAF performed a wide-scale multi-theatre combat training exercise
The IAF Site

Two days ago (Wednesday), an IAF multi-theatre combat training exercise has come to an end. As part of the exercise, IAF service members drilled warfare in both the northern and southern theatres, faced both ground and aerial threats, and more. "In four days, we managed to drill the scenarios the IAF might face during wartime: from combat in the Gaza Strip, through combat in the northern theatre and to providing air support and facing attacks on Israeli airbases", said Maj. R', Head of the Force Exercise Department.


Photography: Alexandra Aksyutich

Hundreds of Aircraft in the Gaza Strip
The exercise saw the IAF service members face new challenging scenarios in the northern theatre, as well as scenarios in the Gaza Strip. In the north, Syria was considered a theater of its own accord for the first time, combining guerrilla "Hezbollah" terrorist forces with forces from the Iranian army; in the south, the IAF drilled an elaborate attack with the participation of hundreds of aircraft from various divisions.

"We drilled various attack scenarios throughout the week, whether high-altitude attacks using autonomic munitions or direct attacks using laser-guided munitions. We were notified just two hours before each attack", said Capt. G', an aircrew member from the 69th ("Hammers") Squadron, which operates "Ra'am" (F-15I) aircraft. "The past three days were focused on the northern theatre while the last day focused on the Gaza Strip, which is different, requiring unique scenarios and combat doctrines. We drill a situation where we takeoff without any information regarding our targets, only receiving said information while in the air and planning at the same time. There is a large number of aircraft working together in a small airspace, and synchronization is critical. Targets are attacked after RPAVs (Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle) fly surveillance sorties and scan the area. A large amount of munitions and aircraft are necessary in case of a sudden event".


Archive Photo

The exercise's complex wartime situations brought about a close-knit cooperation, both between the different units and the combatants themselves. "For complex strikes, we had RPAVs or 'Tzofit' (King Air) aircraft identify the target and guide us toward it", said Capt. A', a WSO (Weapon Systems Officer) from the 105th ("Scorpion") Squadron, which operates "Barak" (F-16C/D) aircraft.

"As part of the exercise, we simulated strikes on infrastructural targets in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip such as launchers or terrorist structures. We had to operate in the shortest possible time", added Lt. R', an aircrew member from the 119th ("Bat") Squadron, which operates "Sufa" (F-16I) aircraft.


Archive Photo

Facing the Unknown
During wartime, a number of work processes are combined in the HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelter) in order to perform as many strikes possible in a minimal time frame. The aircraft have to be armed quickly and precisely. "We work according to a new arming method, which provides a more efficient work process", explained Senior Warrant Officer A', responsible for munitions at the 101st ("First Fighter") Squadron, which operates the "Barak" (F-16C) aircraft.


Photography: Alexandra Aksyutich

A Close-Knit Cooperation
The Air Defense Division drilled an entire day of intense combat with the IDF Home Front Command. "First, we set rules and policies. Later, we expanded on the scenario set by the Home Front Command", elaborated Lt. Gur Even, exercise leader from the "Herev Magen" battalion's IMC (Interception Management Center). "We planned a comprehensive exercise including many targets for interception in the north, as well as several incidents in the south. The ICM was manned by senior officers who will be situated therein during wartime. We drilled every scenario comprehensively".


Archive Photo

For the first time, the "David's Sling" weapon system participated in an exercise simulating operational activity. The system provides another defensive layer for Israel's skies and allows targets to be detected and classified with precision. In addition, an "Iron Dome" reserve service battery was deployed in the southern theatre and simulated an operational scenario, utilizing new counter-UAV capabilities. "We performed many sky defense scenarios, in which the 'Iron Dome' and 'Patriot' weapon systems were an inseparable part of our success", said Capt. G'. "We communicated via radio during our flight and shared our targets. In certain interception sorties, we realized that it would be preferable to use the 'Iron Dome' weapon system and passed over the responsibility".