The operational needs dictate changes. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has positioned a senior officer in the headquarters of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) army division that is in charge of suppressing any attack from the Gaza Strip against cities and towns in southern Israel.
The permanent presence of the senior IAF officer “dramatically” shortens the sensor-to-shooter time.
Sometimes there are only a few minutes from the second an IAF unmanned air system (UAS) detects an evolving act of aggression until the target is hidden and protected in densely populated Gaza.
The IAF senior officer has the authority to use all the means of the IAF to hit such an evasive target when it is still in the open or in a position that will not affect the uninvolved on the ground.
The presence of the IAF officer in the army division’s headquarters also characterises the type of war fought in the Gaza Strip. It is often referred to as “urban warfare”, but this definition is not exact.
The targets in the Gaza Strip, ranging from teams of rocket launchers, through militia members operating mortars, to squads that try to hit Israeli tanks with anti-tank rockets, give the shooter a very short “kill time”.
The fact that the approval to use power from the sky can now be achieved in a very short time is crucial in this type of fighting.
This is a first for the IDF, but I assume that it will not be the last. I am sure that the IAF will, in the near future, be more and more integrated into the ground forces.
The use of UAS by ground forces and special systems used by the air force have changed the operational needs and, because of that, changes are being made.