Paratroops prepare for first brigade-level jump in 15 years

Parachuting of entire brigade believed to be extreme importance in face of potential future war with Syria, or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

September 26, 2011 06:47
1 minute read.
Paratroopers during live-fire exercise

Paratroopers. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

In preparation for future conflicts far from Israel, the IDF Paratroopers Brigade is planning on holding its first exercise in close to two decades – including the parachuting of the entire brigade.

The last time such a drill was held was over 15 years ago, even though soldiers in the Paratroopers Brigade, as well as some other units, continue to undergo parachuting training on a regular basis.

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In military conflict, the IDF has not parachuted large forces in a number of decades, but retaining the capability is believed to be of extreme importance in the face of a potential future war with Syria, or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the IDF used helicopters to transport soldiers deeper into Lebanon, something that could be done instead by parachuting,” an IDF source said.

While parachuting behind enemy lines might seem obsolete, it was still a skill IDF soldiers needed to learn, a high-ranking IDF officer said Monday in response to public criticism that military parachuting was archaic and outdated.

Parachuting, IDF officers have explained, was a “means of transportation” just like a tank or a plane.

“There are many means of transportation like tanks and helicopters to get soldiers from one place to another,” the officer said. “But every normal military, like the US and Britain, also use parachutes.”

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