The Israeli air force is to make the most significant change to its command structure in four decades, in a move which it says will allow it to better prepare for future challenges.

To achieve this, the current position of chief of the air group will be divided between two brigadier generals holding the posts of chief of aerial operations and chief of the air group.

According to the Israeli Defence Forces general staff, the changes will dramatically increase the air force’s operational capabilities. The shift is designed to provide the best possible response to the fast-changing geopolitical climate in the Middle East, and to the changing nature of combat, it adds.

The role of chief of aerial operations will be filled by Brig Gen Tomer Bar, the current commander of Tel Nof air base. His counterpart at Hatzerim air base, Brig Gen Tal Kalman, will be appointed chief of the air group.

The Operations Division will now come under the command of the chief of aerial operations, and will consist of three colonels who will oversee activities divided into three categories. These will comprise strike operations, defensive operations – including most of the service's active air defence systems – and joint operations with Israel's ground forces.

The Air Intelligence Group will also be augmented by a new operations division. This will oversee effective co-ordination between intelligence and operations in the air force.

The changes were made after a long evaluation of the operational needs of the air force, and to reflect that its scope of activities has been dramatically increased.

The change in organisation follows the adoption of the formal name Israeli Air and Space Force last year. "With the growing use of space and the long-range strike capabilities that have been built in recent years, the structural changes were necessary," one Israeli source says.

Source: Flight International