The IAF’s attack helicopter squadrons led an unexpected operational events training exercise. Among the elements participating in the exercise: transport helicopters, UAVs and Police forces
For the first time since resuming activity, the IAF attack helicopter division led a border protection training exercise. The exercise’s participants, which included IAF transport helicopters, ground and police forces, trained for unexpected operational events on Israel’s borders with Egypt and the Gaza strip. “Our goal is to practice the IAF’s operational combat doctrine for dealing with unexpected events and restore the attack helicopter division’s operational fitness, after being grounded for a time”, explained Capt. Rom, the exercise leader from the 113th (“Hornet”) Squadron, which operated “Saraf” (AH-64D Apache Longbow) helicopters.
Among the unexpected scenarios the forces trained for during the four day-long training exercise was a sudden terrorist penetration of villages near the border. “In the case of a terrorist penetrating a village, our job is to address the threat as quickly as possible”, described Maj. Annan, Deputy Commander of the “Caracal” infantry Battalion, whose soldiers rehearsed casualty evacuation to transport helicopters.
“When facing an unexpected event, we divide the work between aerial and ground forces, in accordance with each one’s relative advantage”, shared Maj. Tamir, commander of a mobile war room in the Gaza Division whose role is to observe the borders and operate fire power when needed. “The IAF’s attack helicopters and UAVs utilize the aerial point of view in order to view the entire area and by doing so, detect the enemy on its way to the village. Infantry forces then arrive at the village and defend it from the ground”.
The significance of unexpected events exercises is the wide variety of participating elements. For the first time, the Israeli Police took a significant part in the exercise, by operating its own helicopters and Special Forces. In the field, infantry forces assisted in neutralizing the enemy and Battalion Aid Station crews treated casualties in the field.
“Yanshuf” (Black Hawk) helicopters from the 123rd (“Desert Birds”) and 124th (“Rolling Sword”) Squadron and “Yas’ur” (CH-53) helicopters from the 118th (“Nocturnal Birds”) Squadron assisted in casualty evacuation in cooperation with SAR Unit 669.
Border protection is at the heart of the attack helicopter division’s missions, which has significant advantages in dealing with threats like terrorist penetration. “We train alongside helicopters often as it is crucial to be prepared when necessary”.
“The exercise was very successful in regard to its outcome, quality and cooperation with other forces”, said Capt. Rom. “This exercise prepared us for the next campaign and also for events that can occur at any moment”.