IAF plane on runway 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The air force has dramatically increased the number of exercises it carries out
to prepare its bases for missile attacks and to ensure the ability to continue
operations during a war.
RELATED:Gantz ups Egypt border defense amidst terror warningsRocket from Gaza Strip lands in Egypt; woman injured
At the Ramat David Air Force Base in the Jezreel
Valley, for example, squadrons have conducted almost 100 drills since the
beginning of the year, an increase of close to 200 percent in comparison to the
same period in 2010.
“This is a major threat and we need to know how to
continue operating in the event that missiles are fired at our bases,” a senior
IAF officer explained recently.
The increase in drills is taking place
throughout all of the IAF’s bases due to assessments that Hezbollah in Lebanon
and Hamas in Gaza will use missiles to target IAF bases in a future
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 air force bases in the
IAF sources said that bases will be expected to operate even when
under missile attack. A recent study conducted by the Air Directorate concluded
that bases will be targeted during a future conflict and that the missile
attacks could lead to a slight delay in the IAF’s ability to carry out
Some bases have invested in dispersing resources throughout
the base so that if one is hit a second site will be
“Redundancy is extremely important since we cannot take a
chance that if a depot is hit we will not have an additional storage center,”
the IAF officer said.
The drills are sometimes carried out on a weekly
basis and IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan has designated “operational
continuity” as one of the force’s primary objectives for the coming year. They
vary and sometimes include the entire base and other times specific units.
Pyrotechnics, such as fireworks, mock explosions and real fires, are used to
make the scenarios as realistic as possible.
“Soldiers need to know that
this is a real threat that could happen and we have to be prepared to continue
operating even if missiles are hitting around us,” the officer said.