The Israeli air force has unveiled a new strategy intended to increase the operational capabilities of its fighting squadrons at a time of war – operating two different types of aircraft very closely.

The decision to train in a joint formation is based on the assumption that during a war the air force would have to deal simultaneously with suppressing rocket and missile attacks being made against Israeli territory, and with any attempt by aerial forces to enter the nation's airspace to strike targets.

In late March, two squadrons trained using the new technique, with the target of employing the joint formation to achieve the best operational results. This involved Boeing F-15s from the "Knights of the Double Tail" unit, operating out of Tel Nof air base, and Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds from the "First Jet" squadron at Ramat David air base.

During three days of training, the units employed mixed formations against a simulated enemy in a scenario in which they had to defend Israeli airspace on the nation's northern front. They also flew in larger numbers than usual, in a bid to exploit the advantages of each combat aircraft type. Air crews also gathered for joint briefings and debriefings throughout the process.

By merging its assets into one flying formation, the air force can deal with a wide variety of threats. Its F-15s have longer-range capability and carry some unique weapons, while the F-16 has attributes including its defensive electronic warfare equipment.

Source: Flight International