The airforce does not put a flag on top of the hill at the end of a battle. Even fighter pilots accept this saying. But the airforce working in combination with ground forces can put flags on top of many hills.
Israel has learned the hard way that close co-operation between fighter and helicopter squadrons and fighting infantry brigades is essential.
Recently the Israeli airforce (IAF) took part in a big exercise with the Givati infantry brigade – some of the most experienced ground troops of the Israeli defence forces (IDF). As part of the exercise, the brigade’s soldiers trained with the IAF on joint activities.
The “Desert Birds” and the “Rolling Sword” squadrons, which operate the Blackhawk helicopter, played a central role in the exercise by transporting troops and evacuating injured soldiers from the battlefield.
In addition to helicopter operations, the soldiers also worked in co-operation with unmanned air systems (UAS) from Palmachim Airbase.
“The goal is to train together as much as possible, so that in a war we’ll know how to work in the best possible way,” Lt Assaf told the IAF website.
Assaf was responsible for the exercise on behalf of the Co-operation Unit, whose job is to create operational dialogue between the IAF and the other forces.
“Our job is to know how to create quality co-operation between the ground forces and the platforms in the force,” Assaf said. “We are the factor linking the ‘greens’ and the ‘blues’. On the one hand, we want to ensure that the brigade knows what to ask for from the IAF: that way, it will get the best response. On the other hand, we want the squadrons to get the best training possible.”
This time only helicopter squadrons were involved. In the future co-operation between the ground forces and fighter aircraft squadrons will be honed further, to enable more flags on more hilltops.