The Israel Air Force will inaugurate a new squadron of fighter jets into service
No, it is not the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will arrive
in a few years. This squadron does not take off from the ground.
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of real fighter jets, this squadron consists of eight simulator pods, all of
current Israeli fighter jets including the various models of the F-15s and F-16s
that make up the backbone of the IAF’s attack fleet.
They are located in
the Hatzor Airbase near Ashdod. Pilots will use them to practice dogfights,
bombing runs and air maneuvers.
Referred to as a “simulator farm,” the
squadron was constructed by Elbit Systems. Each simulator has seats for two
airmen – a pilot and a navigator – and there is an additional simulator strictly
for navigators where they can practice bombing maneuvers and attack
The first two-seater simulator for the F-16I was installed earlier
this year at a cost of close to $20 million. The simulator was developed by
Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin. IAF pilots
usually train with simulators at least four times a year.
developed the avionics systems for use in the actual F-16I aircraft, also
provided the systems for the simulator.
The IAF said the simulators would
save money on fuel and allow pilots to drill maneuvers and scenarios that cannot
be performed in live flights. By the summer of 2012, the simulators will be
connected to one another and enable pilots to practice joint
The IAF is also developing technology that will allow it to
connect the simulators to real aircraft and hold joint exercises, with some crew
in aircraft and others in simulators.
The simulators will allow pilots to
practice flying over countries such as Lebanon and Syria.
footage is processed into 3D views so it can be used when pilots need to
simulate a mission in enemy territory.
“We can do dress rehearsals of
specific operations in real places and insert into the scenarios real threats
and challenges,” a top IAF officer explained recently.
The IAF will also
use the simulators to train its pilots in flying against advanced surface-to-air
missiles, which are becoming a growing threat in the region. In real flights,
IAF pilots do not see missiles fired at them, but in the simulators they
“Let’s say there is a new threat that arrives in the region,” the
officer said. “We will be able to insert its parameters into the simulators and
practice flying against it.
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