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IAF Wartime Preparation Release date 02.08.2018
How does the IAF prepare for war? An exercise was recently held by the 115th ("Flying Dragon") Squadron and the 107th ("Knights of the Orange Tail") Squadron, focusing on the elements of warfare in the air force. The squadrons' service members were sent to destroy the assets of an invented enemy country while defending their own
Tal Ben-Naeh, Illy Pe'ery & Nuphar Blitt

Today (Thursday), the IAF concluded a widescale multi-theatre warfare exercise meant to drill preparedness for emergency in the IDF Northern Command, the IAF and the IDF General Staff. The exercise included operation of defensive capabilities, attack and reconnaissance in numerous theatres simulatenously, among others. The exercise is a part of the IAF's yearly training program, and its goal is to improve combat preparedness in the air force.

Photography: Koral Dvir

How does the IAF prepare for warfare? A warfare element workshop was recently held in Uvda AFB, led by the 115th ("Flying Dragon") Aggressor Squadron, which operates "Barak" (F-16C/D) aircraft. The 107th ("Knights of the Orange Tail") Squadron, which operates "Sufa" (F-16I) aircraft, also participated in the exercise. "We drilled both defense and offense, aerial missions, attack missions utilizing optical and autonomic munitions, infrastructure strikes and more", elaborated Maj. A', the 115th Squadron's Deputy Commander.

The 107th Squadron's regular and reserve service members relocated from Hatzerim AFB to Uvda for the exercise. "Our purpose is to simulate a combat flight scenario which doesn't necessarily simulate the next war or the current operational situation, and yet still allows for a full practice – from planning on the ground, through flight itself and to unexpected events occurring while in the air", said Capt. G', the 107th Squadron's exercise leader. "This is a high-quality exercise. Unlike most exercises, this one requires us to utilize the full extent of our capabilities. The content of the exercise doesn't simulate the expected scenarios, but provides us with the greatest challenge possible".

Photography: Celia Garion

Into the Unknown
Secrecy is required in order to provide a fighter pilot with a proper real-time simulation. "Besides me and the deputy squadron commander, no one is aware of the content of the exercise", elaborated Capt. G'.

"The service members' unawareness is our greatest challenge. They have no idea what's due to happen in the next event, where it will occur and how they should prepare", described Capt. G'. "The operations plan surprises them every time. Before performing the mission we overview the situation and minimize our risks. If we make mistakes now, we can correct them later".

Photography: Aleksandra Aksiutich

Simulating Warfare
"We were required to strike simulated targets on the ground", said Maj. A'. "Also participating in the exercise were ground OPFOR squads from the squadron and Israel's defense industry which fired simulative rockets – the aircrews were then required to intercept these squads".

The drilled scenario simulated warfare between two invented countries. The squadron's service members were required to destroy the enemy country's assets while defending their own. "During wartime, every event has an influence – if a missile factory is hit, we'll have less munitions for our next sortie. Defending our assets is of critical importance", elaborated Capt. G'. "The scenario is incredibly complex, requiring the squadron to plan the operation, fly and debrief while constantly reassessing the situation in real-time. Even if we don't drill the exact scenario due to occur the next morning, the exercise improves the service members' capabilities. We will be sharper in real-time".

Photography: Celia Garion

Wartime Principles
The squadron was established on the basis of the IDF's wartime principles, which include adherence, continuity, simplicity and flexibility, among others. "These principles allow the squadron's service members to share a common language during certain missions. For example, flying in a complex flight formation successfully requires simplicity and flexibility".

Photography: Aleksandra Aksiutich

"At the end of the exercise, we debrief and give feedback regarding the aggressor squadron's operation during the exercise, reviewing both our successes and the fields in which we could improve", concluded Maj. A'. "This exercise has been held numerous times, so we can compare our performance to other squadrons. This is a professional squadron with a high level of performance. The exercise helped the squadron's service members see their discrepancies as well as their strong points".