The Israeli “Depth Command” – new roles for the IAF?

“Depth command”, “deep penetration command” or “unified special op command”. No matter the translation from Hebrew, the fact is Israeli Defence Forces has established a new command, headed by a general, to co-ordinate what is defined loosely as “long-range operations”.

The new command was in planning for a long time but sources say now is the right time to act and solve operational problems that may result from the need to fight armed forces that do not border Israel.

It is obvious such a command will need the means to deploy units covertly in distant destinations. When the media in Israel dubbed the new command “the Iranian command” it may have exaggerated a little but it helped to see the rationale.

To do that, Israel will have to procure a number of aerial platforms but the variety in the market is not large, and the budget even smaller.

In past years, the Israeli air force (IAF) has evaluated the V-22 tiltrotor. This is a good solution for a country such as Israel, but budget restraints would not even allow negotiations to get under way.

The IAF has ordered a limited number of C-130Js and is once more upgrading its CH-53s. Will that suffice? I don’t know, but what is clear is that plans will be made to give the new command the tools it needs.

In the changing Middle East in its wide definition, the IAF will have to assume roles that have been left on the shelf – until now.

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