Blackhawk helicopters take part in IDF Air Force drill, July 2017.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The Israel Air Force, along with commanders of the 319th Reserve Division of the Northern Command, held a joint drill this week, strengthening cooperation between the IAF and ground troops.
The drill, which took place Wednesday near the northern community of Elyakim, saw 120 reservists from the 213th “Revival” Artillery Regiment participate and train on various types of missions, such as directing Black Hawk helicopters to predetermined locations to evacuate wounded soldiers and fly them to the area of Daliat al-Carmel.
“In the past two-and-a-half years, cooperation between the ground forces and other branches such as the air force, navy and [Military] Intelligence has increased tremendously,” a senior officer in the ground forces told The Jerusalem Post.
“Training of the ground forces [also] has drastically changed. All three branches can work together during drills, this is not how it was two years ago,” he said.
The drill was organized by Lt.-Col.Gilad, commander of the IAF’s Center of Cooperation Instruction, which is responsible for the training of all ground commanders in the field of air operations, and Col. Chaim Rabinovitch, commander of the 213th Artillery Regiment.
Although the air force’s cooperation unit carries out 10 joint drills a year similar to Wednesday’s, Rabinovitch said one of this magnitude has not taken place for two years.
Speaking to the Post following the drill, Rabinovitch said it was carried out to improve how commanders work alongside the air force, especially with regard to logistics and cooperation.
Gilad told the Post they initially wanted to carry out the drill using Apache helicopters, had to use Black Hawks due to ongoing tests on the Apaches after a technician found a crack in the blade of one of the helicopters during a routine maintenance check last month.
Following an investigation into the cause of the crack, the IAF decided to shorten the life of the blades by 80%, and leading the air force to use a different type of helicopter for drills.
Comparing the two types of helicopters, Gilad said, is like comparing “milk to meat, they are totally different helicopters.
One strikes and one carries soldiers,” he said, stressing that, nonetheless, “we need to know how to work with both.”