The “Lavi” era has begun for the Israeli air force (IAF).
Last week, experienced fighter pilots – including reservists – returned to the classrooms of the IAF’s flight school to study mandatory check procedures once again. This was a part of a conversion workshop designed to turn Skyhawk A-4 instructors into Aermacchi M-346 (Lavi) instructors.
As deliveries of the M-346 continue, the use of this advanced trainer is becoming part of the daily routine in the IAF’s flight academy at Hatzerim airbase – from where trainees fly in the skies above southern Israel.
But many activities at the academy now centre on the new ground-based training simulator (GBTS) that was developed by Elbit Systems with Alenia Aermacchi, CAE and Sellex.
The GBTS consists of two full mission simulators (FMS) and two operational flight simulators (OFS), which are all linked together. According to Elbit Systems they offer an experience that is almost identical to real flight.
Both pilots and weapon systems operators (WSO) undergo training, ranging from basic familiarisation to the highest level of combat flight competence. The training is based on a new concept whereby a high percentage of the syllabus is practiced at the GBTS, with trainees using the simulators on a daily basis.
This training solution was selected by the IAF to allow pilots and WSOs to progress directly to fouth and fifth generation fighter aircraft (F-16, F-15, F-35).
The SkyHawk was a relatively bare trainer, and after young pilots moved on to fighting squadrons they had to begin operational training almost from scratch. This situation is completely changed now and new pilots will arrive at their operational squadrons ready for action.
The Lavi is now the most important tool in training new pilots for the very busy squadrons of the IAF.