Weight Watchers are having success in the squadrons of the Israeli air force (IAF). This success is reflected not on the weight of the ground crews and the pilots, but on the weight of the aircraft.
Last year, the IAF has begun a “diet programme” for its aircraft to overcome loss of maneuverability and carrying capability due to overweight. Sources say that there is success so far and the efforts continue.
The IAF has been upgrading its fixed wing and helicopters since they entered service. This has mainly been by installing locally developed systems.
During the years, some of the platforms became heavy and the IAF decided to cut the weight.
As part of the effort, each aircraft is being evaluated and the overall weight is checked against the needed operational capabilities. There is a weight loss plan for each aircraft.
The plan includes the replacement of existing heavy systems with lighter ones and even scrubbing old layers of paint. One immediate success was achieved with the Eurocopter AS-565 MA (Atalef) helicopters, operating from the deck of the Israeli navy’s SAAR-5 missile boats.
This helicopter became heavy because of the many systems installed in it and that resulted in a limitation of the fuel that could have been pumped into its tanks and in shorter mission time.
Some of the systems of the Atalef were replaced with newer, lighter ones.
With other platforms the focus is on replacing “items” with less heavy ones and removing “boxes” that are not needed anymore.
IAF sources say that the weight loss effort will become a continuous process and that the results so far are encouraging.