Earlier this week, fighter WSOs (Weapon Systems Officers) from the 102nd ("Flying Tiger") Squadron arrived at the Aerial Munition Center in Hatzor AFB in order to drill use of the "Delilah" cruise missile.
Several months after graduation, the graduates of Flight Course 177 are due to arrive at their operational squadrons in June. Now, they are undergoing a weeklong seminar at the AMC (Aerial Munition Center) in Hatzor AFB. Last week, their instructors from the squadron visited the center as well in order to simulate the sorties beforehand and see the situation from the eyes of the cadets.
The AMC has several simulators where the Fighter Division aircrews drill use of electro-optical guided munitions. The current exercise focuses on detecting targets using the "Delilah" missile. "Sorties in the simulator utilizing the 'Delilah' missile provide the cadets with an insight into operationality", said Capt. Y', a flight instructor at the 102nd ("Flying Tiger") Squadron, which operates the "Lavi" (M-346) trainer aircraft.
The seminar begins with basic drills, and the difficulty level rises as more and more sorties are performed. Each day is made up of two sorties in the simulator, with each sortie being made up of three munition drops on a designated target.
"The WSOs need to know how to drop munitions when detecting targets with their eyes", said Capt. Y'. "They need heightened senses in order to understand whether the target is the stream they see from the cockpit, the city nearby, a house in the city or one of the house's windows. This is the first we've used the 'Delilah' missile in training, and it's turning out to be a comfortable, satisfying platform for our instruction."
The instruction is performed by the AMC's simulator instructors, who simulate the pilots during training. "We learn about the differences between the pilot and the WSO during our training process in order to simulate the aircrew members as best as we can, thus enabling a high-quality simulation of potential real-time scenarios", said Cpl. Gili Waltz, a simulator instructor at the AMC.
Instructing the Instructors
The 102nd Squadron's flight instructors are experienced aircrew members who have clocked countless flight hours throughout their service. Nevertheless, they make sure to visit the AMC occasionally for some preliminary training before delivering the seminar". It is important for us to refresh the instructors' instruction capabilities", emphasized Capt. Y'. Cpl. Walz explained: "The instructors come from various combat squadrons and have to learn and drill the use of the 'Delilah' missile as well. During the sorties, we sat inside the cockpit, operated the system and explained to the instructors how to use the weapon".
In addition to refreshing their instruction capabilities, the instructors arrived at the training center last week in order to have a better understanding of what the cadets will experience themselves. "When we train instructors, we go into details regarding the training itself in order to understand what challenges the cadets will need to deal with, where they might fail and where they might succeed", added Cpl. Waltz. "We tried to get into the cadet's mind and ensure that the training matches the content we want to instil."
The combination between the 102nd Squadron, which allows Combat WSOs to train in the advanced "Lavi" aircraft, with the AMC creates a complete training package that will bring the WSOs to the operational squadron prepared for any scenario.