The Israeli airforce (IAF) is making a big effort to streamline the operation of its transport and attack helicopter squadrons.
These rotorcraft operate under different conditions, but frequently work together to perform the same mission.
A few days ago, aircrew members from the “Hornets” combat helicopter squadron and aircrew from the “Nocturnal Birds” and “Rolling Sword” transport helicopter squadrons met for a flight workshop in southern Israel.
As part of the workshop, the aircrews practiced scenarios in which they would have to work together.
“This is a special training flight,” said Lt Nadav from the “Hornets” squadron at Ramon airbase, which led the exercise. “We don’t usually get to take part in a training session that deals with co-operation like this, but this year we intend to raise the level of co-operation,” he told the IAF website.
The goal of the workshop was to increase co-operation between the combat and transport helicopter squadrons in situations where combat helicopters accompany transport helicopters on their missions to provide them with protection. These are often rescue missions for combat forces in battle or pilots who have abandoned their planes in enemy territory.
In certain situations, transport helicopters and rescue crews are called in to extract ground forces stuck in enemy territory. In such situations, two combat helicopters typically fly alongside the transport helicopters to protect them.
This allows aircrew of the transport helicopters to search for and rescue the ground forces.
In many occasions, the close co-operation between these crews represents the thin line between life and death.