IAF to return to Romania for training in August

Air Force interested in holding joint maneuvers in Carpathian Mountains, terrain Israeli pilots do not get to frequently train in.

June 15, 2011 03:32
1 minute read.
AN IAF helicopter returns from the mountainous area in Romania where an Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 Sea S

IAF Yasour 311. (photo credit: Courtesy: IDF)

The Israel Air Force will return to Romania for joint maneuvers later this summer, a year after six of its servicemen were killed in a helicopter crash in the Carpathian Mountains.

Six IAF servicemen – pilots and technical crew – were killed when a Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion, called Yasour in the IAF, crashed into a mountain during a military exercise in which crews were trained to fly at low altitudes. A Romanian military officer observing the IAF crew aboard the helicopter was also killed.

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An IAF inquiry concluded that the accident was most likely the result of human error.

The IAF has not deployed in Romania since the accident and sources said on Tuesday that IAF C-130 Hercules transport aircraft will fly there for joint maneuvers in August.

IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan is also scheduled to fly to Romania later this year for a joint memorial service for the servicemen.

The IAF is interested in continuing to train in Romania, and particularly in the Carpathian Mountains, which are known for unstable weather as well as thick forests and high mountains, terrain that Israeli pilots do not get to frequently train in. It is similar to what the IAF could encounter in future operations.

In 2006, then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz signed a five-year agreement with his Romanian counterpart formalizing ties and enabling the IAF to deploy aircraft and soldiers for training in Romania.

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