Tonight (Wednesday) between 10PM and 3AM, the IAF Air Defense Array held an FSP (Field Surveillance Program) Test. The participating batteries were a battery from the 139th Yahalom (Patriot) Battalion and a battery from the 137th "Iron Dome" Battalion.
"This was a routine test planned as part of the yearly training program, meant to examine the system and the combatants' preparedness", elaborated Maj. Guy Ben Ze'ev, the test leader. "At the same time, we drilled additional challenging scenarios in order to shed light on the systems' new, yet unexamined capabilities".
Challenging the Systems
The test was also meant to increase the range of aerial threats the weapon systems are capable of intercepting. As part of the test, the "Yahalom" weapon system drilled a new scenario, which it had never tried before. "From time to time we examine the fitness of our crews and systems according to pre-designated goals", said Maj. Ben Ze'ev. "The goal is to face our service members with a challenge and ensure that they're prepared for the various scenarios the Air Defense Array might encounter".
The "Iron Dome" weapon system was also put to the test. "We are currently developing a new version of the system, and wanted to make sure that it would be operationally integrated and utilized properly in the IAF", added Maj. Ben Ze'ev. Two delegations from international militaries came to visit Israel in order to observe the test and learn lessons.
The test is significant for several reasons. "We hold simulated exercises throughout the year, but live fire acts as a sort of peak when it comes to training the forces, preparing our service members for the moment they have to intercept live targets", elaborated Maj. Ben Ze'ev.
"Live fire exercises require coordination, safety, preliminary training and professional preparation", explained Maj. Ben Ze'ev. "Executing a test of this sort requires initiative and creative thinking. The Air Defense Array combatants and technicians who train throughout the year are the ones responsible for the array's success in real-time". The training is an important milestone in the Air Defense Array's ability to handle future threats in all theatres.