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Ramat-David AFB Inspection Release date 18.11.2018
Every few years, the IAF performs a Fitness & Preparedness Inspection which examines IAF service members' wartime readiness - last week, it was Ramat-David AFB's turn. This is what an airbase looks like during wartime
Tal Ben-Naeh | Photography: Alexandra Aksyutich

The airbase's siren is sounded. We run to take cover while an explosion is heard in the background. Seconds later, I see an ambulance approach – in the distance, four "Barak" (F-16C/D) aircraft take off on attack, sky defense and reconnaissance sorties.

This is one of the scenarios which kicked off the Fitness & Preparedness Inspection held last week in Ramat-David AFB. The inspection was meant to test the service members' preparedness for the next campaign. The inspection directorate – headed by Maj. A', Head of the Operative Combat Department in the IAF Air Operations Directorate – prepared a complex wartime scenario. The inspection examined many fields, including combat infrastructure, operational orders and the squadrons' operational fitness, among others.

The Main Test
"Ramat-David handles most of the IAF's missions, which is why we began preparing for the inspection ten months ago", Col. A', the airbase's commander. "The airbase's 'Barak' squadrons are responsible for a significant portion of the IAF's attack and reconnaissance sorties, while also participating in naval warfare alongside the 193rd ("Defenders of the West") Squadron, which operates 'Atalef' (Panther) helicopters. The naval helicopter regularly lands on Israeli Navy ships, participates in the naval theatre and takes part in naval reconnaissance. The airbase is unique, and during wartime its squadrons will operate both in the south and in the north, both on land and in the sea".

"The Fitness & Preparedness Inspection is the main test of an IAF base's operational capabilities", said Lt. Col. S', commander of a flight squadron at the base. "The last time a Fitness & Preparedness Inspection was held in Ramat-David AFB was nine years ago". The inspection touched upon most of the airbase's routine missions as well as missile threat scenarios, warfare in the southern theatre, aerial missions in the northern theatre, and more.

Against Any Threat
The inspection was planned according to relevant scenarios, with each stage referring to a different mission or theatre. One of the inspection's central components was preparing the service members for wartime. "The mental preparation process was long", added Lt. Col. S'. "We are preparing for a scenario in which missiles would hit the base, and we have to prepare the service members".

300 inspectors sat in the inspection directorate in Ramat-David AFB, participated in briefs and debriefs at the squadrons and examined the base's units according to predetermined criteria. Besides acting as inspectors, each one of them took part in the inspection's planning process.

"We first got together four months ago in order to begin planning the aerial directorate for the inspection", elaborated Maj. R', leader of the aerial inspection, which was managed from the IAF Operational HQ. "Maj. A' and I went over the capabilities of each and every squadron in the base. After narrowing down the topics we wanted to inspect, we began planning the details".

"Each one of the aerial scenarios we planned has an operational leader. The scenarios were established according to combat doctrines and operational orders. When necessary, the squadrons contacted us and we addressed their questions in real-time", concluded Maj. R'. "The inspection is the 'money time' and they want to pass it successfully. After each sortie, we watch the flight video and debrief. Learning lessons from the inspection will undoubtedly improve the airbase's preparedness".