Fearing that Hezbollah and Syrian missile attacks will target its bases in a
future war, the Israel Air Force has decided to establish a special battalion at
all bases that will be responsible for ensuring operational
In recent years, the air force has dramatically increased the
number of exercises it carries out to prepare the bases for missile attacks. At
the Ramat David Air Force Base in the Jezreel Valley, for example, squadrons
have conducted over 100 drills since the beginning of the year, an increase of
close to 200 percent compared to the same period in 2010.
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commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan decided to establish a battalion that will be
responsible for protecting each base, including making sure that runways damaged
in bombings are quickly repaired and that air crews are able to rearm and refuel
when landing in between sorties.
The IAF assessment is that Hezbollah,
Syria and Hamas will direct their missile fire
at air force bases during a
future conflict in an effort to undermine the IAF’s ability to
During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah tried to hit
Ramat David, the air force’s largest base in the North, and during Operation
Cast Lead in 2009, Hamas fired rockets at bases in the South.
IAF officer said this week that it was “critical, though, that we know how to
continue operating despite [missile] attacks.”
Until now, the unit
responsible for operational continuity was the Aviation Squadron, which provides
services to the combat squadrons including management of the control tower and
perimeter security around the base.
Some bases have invested in
dispersing resources – such as fuel and munition depots – throughout the
compound so that if one is hit, a second site will be
Nehushtan has designated “operational continuity” as one of
the IAF’s primary objectives over the past year. The drills are sometimes held
on a weekly basis, and pyrotechnics, such as fireworks, mock explosions and real
fires, are used to make the scenarios as realistic as possible.