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Winning Together Release date 25.11.2018
Developing new combat doctrines, strengthening mutual trust and going from air support to a full-on partnership: last week (Tuesday), over 100 commanders participated in an "Air-Ground" conference dedicated to deepening the cooperation between the IAF and the IDF Ground Arm
Yael Fuchs

The IAF has made air support one of its top priorities just several years ago. Air support refers to the IAF's participation in ground and naval activity as well as the establishment of mutual strategies and combat doctrines. As the years go by, theatres evolve and systems need to be operated in more synchronized and precise manners, requiring a more extensive cooperation.


Photography: Noam Nachum

Last week (Tuesday), an "Air-Ground" conference regarding cooperation between the IAF and the IDF Ground Arm was held in the IAF Headquarters. The conference was headed by IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Norkin with the participation of Brig. Gen. Nir Nin-Nun, Head of Air Support & Helicopter Division and commanders of the IAF's airbases and squadrons, as well as commanders of IDF Ground Arm divisions, brigades and battalions.

Blue & Green
Preparation for the conference began six months ago, and participants included over 100 commanders from the two forces ranked Lieutenant Colonel and higher. "A conference of this size hasn't been seen in the past 20 years", said Brig. Gen. Nin-Nun. "This conference is related to one of our main goals, defined by the Commander of the IAF when he began his duty: attaining victory using a combined ground-aerial force".


Photography: Noam Nachum

The conference gave the participants a chance to familiarize themselves with significant cooperative events which have occurred in the over the past year, all while learning about plans and processes proposed by service members from the headquarters and in the field. The participants were divided into discussion groups including members of both the IAF and the Ground Arm, with a squadron/division/battalion commander at the head of every group. The groups brought up gaps in the cooperation between the forces and brought up potential operational solutions. Brig. Gen. Nin-Nun added: "Through proper prioritizing and mutual initiatives, the IAF has become more effective and we have managed to establish a strong combined force".

"This conference is a stepping-stone for the entire IDF", said Maj. Gen. Kobi Barak, Commander of the IDF Ground Arm. "Today we weave an incredibly significant cooperation between the Ground Arm and the IAF. I am certain that we will be even more prepared during the next campaign thanks to this cooperation. During the conference, we decided on essential developments we will utilize during combat and mutual exercises the likes of which have never been seen before".


Archive Photo

The Key to Success
Mutual exercises are a great contribution, and yet they bring numerous challenges. "Sometimes dilemmas appear. On one hand, the IAF operates according to a pre-determined policy, and on the other hand, the Ground Arm division leader has the freedom to choose how the operational plan will be performed during combat", said Col. Yaki Dolf, Commander of the IDF Paratroopers Brigade. "One of our main conclusions was that we had to work together and reach a certain balance. Planning together is the key to success".


Photography: Noam Nachum

Bridging Over the Gaps
Last July, the IAF and the IDF 162nd Division drilled warfare as part of an extensive exercise displaying their cooperative work over the past year. "If I hadn't underwent a long process alongside the air force, I wouldn't have known to talk to service members from the IAF Cooperation Unit when I needed help planning", shared Col. Dan Goldfus, Commander of the Nahal Brigade. "This is where operational effectivity comes into play – first, we planned our operational needs and afterwards we bridged over the gaps".


Archive Photo

"Every brigade commander needs to know which tools the IAF provides, and the IAF needs to know how to operate in the interest of the ground forces", added Col. Goldfus. "Analyzing activity in the air and on the ground allows us to designate missions and strike targets. This is the only way we can win the next war".

"If everyone leaves this conference knowing that our shared mission is winning the battle, that's how it'll be", emphasized Col. D', Commander of the Cooperation Unit. "The definition of victory is simple: arriving from point A to point B within a short time span while causing damage to the enemy. When we focus on these things while also planning mutual exercises and a mutual operation protocol meant to make the most of the IAF – that is when we will succeed in our mission".