Events Log

Bookmark and Share
Commanders of the Future Release date 12.08.2018
In order for aircrew combatants to become Second Deputy Squadron Commanders, they have to return to the Flight Academy and undergo an intense three-week long course in which they learn the ins and outs of the position
Illy Pe'ery

New Second Deputy Squadron Commanders are being stationed in the various IAF squadrons over the next few weeks. They graduated from the IAF Flight Course, served as pilots in their squadrons and then either served in the IAF Headquarters or as flight instructors in the Flight Academy. Recently, they underwent an additional course which marked the beginning of their path to becoming squadron commanders – the first SDSC (Second Deputy Squadron Commanders) Course held in the Advanced Training Squadron established several months ago in the Flight Academy in Hatzerim AFB.


Archive Photo

“Serving as an SDSC is an aircrew combatant’s first significant promotion, going from being a regular pilot or instructor in the Flight Academy to being a commander”, described Maj. A’, Commander of the Advanced Training Squadron. “The promotion requires them to expand their professional knowledge while also developing the skillsets of both a commander and an aircrew combatant. Throughout the course we focus on three aspects of development: command, professionalism and the role of the aircrew member”.

What is an SDSC?
In order to delve into the SDSC Course, we have to understand the role of the Deputy Squadron Commander. The squadron’s commanding staff includes the Squadron Commander, a technical officer and three additional commanders from the Flight Department: a First Deputy Squadron Commander, who commands over the Flight Department and substitutes for the Squadron Commander in his absence, and two Second Deputy Squadron Commanders – one responsible for instruction and the other for operations. The Instruction SDSC is responsible for planning the squadron’s periodic plan and weekly plan, while the Operations SDSC is responsible for putting the weekly plan in action. In addition, all SDSCs act as consultants for the squadron commander.


Archive Photo

“SDSCs have much more work than they did in their previous roles”, explained Maj. A’. “This is one of the reasons that we expose them to various positions in the headquarters and in the field, with which they will have close ties as part of their job. In many cases, they will meet their first acquaintances while in the course”.

A Significant Change
"As part of the SDSC's learning process, the course exposes them to both current and past SDSCs", added Maj. A'. "They give advice and teach the course members how to construct a periodic plan, how to properly divide one's flight hours and how to plan an exercise safely, among others. A short command seminar fitted for SDSCs is also held, which includes simulations and analysis of key events in the IAF. The course was escorted by Lt. Col. (Res') R', a retired squadron commander who taught some of the lessons, gave personal examples and provided the students with feedback".


Archive Photo

Divisions are also a factor in the difference between Deputy Squadron Commanders. For example, an SDSC in the Fighter Division is different from an SDSC in the Transport Division. According to Maj. A': "Establishing an SDSC course is challenging. On one hand, certain content needs to be taught to all participants; on the other hand, each Deputy Squadron Commander has his own unique position, relative to his respective squadron and division. There are eight different roles in the course: both Operations and Instruction SDSCs in the Fighter, RPAV (Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle), Helicopter and Transport Divisions. The solutions to this challenging situation include dividing the course members into their respective divisions and attaching personal tutors to act as the commanders of operational squadrons".

A Significant Beginning
This isn't the first Deputy Squadron Commander was held in the IAF, but it is the first time it has been held in the Advanced Training Squadron. Previously, the courses were held at Aircrew Combatant Academy 343. "Transferring these courses to the Flight Academy allows for a full overview of the aircrew combatants' training, from enlistment to retirement, thus ensuring continuity in their training", emphasized Maj. A'. "The Flight Academy has numerous advantages: it is a strong instructional establishment with a wealth of commanders and combatants. Among the course's participants are the IAF's future squadron commanders, airbase commanders and potentially even the future commander of the IAF. This is why we think of the course as the beginning of the aircrew members' experience in the field of command".


Archive Photo

First Steps
The content of the current SDSC Course is based on previous courses, yet includes alterations matching the new instructional method. "When planning the course, we relied on discourse with commanders and their grasp of the position as well as ours", elaborated Maj. A'. "Our main goal is to train the officers to be SDSCs. In the course, we adjust our expectations according to the IAF's expectations of the SDSCs, and they then acquire the theoretical knowledge and practical tools necessary for performing the job. This is how we allow the SDSCs to work as effectively as possible".


Archive Photo

"We are trying to provide a personal experience in the course adjusted according to each participating officer", concluded Maj. A'. "There is a significant process occurring in the course, not related to specific squadrons but to the development required of every aircrew member. We have a holistic grasp regarding the training of our combatants, so the Advanced Training Squadron is one of many parts in the combatants' long journey".