For the first time in a while, the IAF's attack helicopter squadrons flew side by side in a comprehensive nighttime training exercise in southern Israel. "We feel this exercise is essential and meaningful for the squadrons and Ramon AFB as a whole"
Recently, the IAF's attack helicopters division held a training exercise in southern Israel. About 40 aircrew members participated in the exercise, including regular service and reserve duty personnel, as well as about 14 Apache helicopters from both of the IAF's attack helicopter squadrons located in Ramon AFB: The 113th ("Hornet") Squadron which operates the "Saraf" (Apache Longbow) and the 190th ("Magic Touch") Squadron which operates the "Peten" (Apache).
"In the exercise, we drilled operational scenarios that are relevant to every attack helicopter pilot - flying under threat, attacking targets deep in enemy territory, cannon fire, anti-tank guided missiles, and more", shares Lt. T, an aircrew member in the 190th Squadron. "We practice these scenarios regularly in the squadron, but this current exercise is unique since the two squadrons cooperated in order to learn from each other through joint flight and practice the fundamentals of flying attack helicopters".
Ready for Combat
As stated, the aircrew members executed operational scenarios relevant to the southern Israeli theatre in the joint training exercise and strengthened the cooperation between the squadrons. "In each period we choose to focus on a different field, while currently, we practice the fundamentals of flying attack helicopters. It includes facing tactical threats, flying at low-altitudes, attacking, and nighttime flying", explains Lt. T. "In real-time, we fly in cooperation, but in this unique exercise we flew in a formation of four helicopters - two Apache Longbows and two Apaches, as opposed to each squadron flying in separate formations. Prior to the training exercise, we held a formation briefing, which allowed us to learn from aircrew members from our sister squadron and improve as aircrew members".
"We are part of a small division whose squadrons conduct similar missions that are unique within the IAF", said Capt. Y, an aircrew member from the 113th Squadron. "Each squadron has its character and operates uniquely. There is no single correct way to carry out a mission, there are always multiple approaches, which makes it important to hold joint training, to learn from different squadrons and find ways to improve".
Side by Side
The comprehensive nature of the exercise is very significant and unique. "It doesn't happen very often. The extent of the exercise and cooperation of many helicopters, allows us to practice unique tasks that cannot be drilled in routine", stated Lt. T.
"After returning to more frequent joint flying, we understood that it was important to remove the rust and train together", Lt. T. concluded. "An exercise of its kind didn't take place in a while, and we feel this exercise is essential and meaningful for the squadrons and Ramon AFB as a whole - Not every day do sister squadrons fly together".