Very realistic scenario: rockets launched from Gaza or Lebanon hit Israeli Air Force (IAF) bases. The squadrons have to perform a record number of missions, using the runways and other facilities that have been hit.
The IAF is getting prepared for a situation in which its bases will be under heavy attacks from rockets and missiles. A special unit, equipped and trained, has one mission: to allow the aircraft to take off and land under all circumstances.
Recently, according to the IAF magazine, the special battalion in charge has conducted a large drill that simulated such an attack. The drill took place in the IAF's Hazor base, as part of the functional continuity training plan.
The special battalion consists of reservists that are being trained to make sure that the base's combat squadrons can keep on taking off for operational missions at any given time. "We take this exercise very seriously. We have to be prepared for any possible scenario," says Lt Col (Res.) Michael Rabinowitz, commander of the battalion. "Although this is all new to us since we had never exercised this specifically, we can see significant changes in the functioning of the battalion."
In war, the battalion will be responsible for smooth functioning under various extreme scenarios, from chemical weapon attack to hits by conventional rockets.
The battalion is equipped for the quick fixing of runways and for restoring all the base's critical services.
The IAF has some back-up plans for the worst scenarios, but one thing is behind any doubt: everything possible will be done, under the toughest conditions, to enable the IAF to operate. For Israel, this is a crucial element.