|IDF Paratroopers perpare to jump in brigade-level jump 311.(Photo by: IDF Spokesman's Unit)|
After 15 years: IDF brigade-level parachute jump
By YAAKOV KATZ
Skill viewed as critical ahead of future conflicts where fighting could
be far from Israel.
In preparation for future conflicts far from Israel, the IDF Paratroopers
Brigade held a brigade-level parachute jump late Tuesday night, the first time
the military has conducted such an exercise in close to two decades.
last time such a drill was held was over 15 years ago, even though soldiers in
the Paratroopers Brigade, as well as some other IDF units, continue to undergo
parachuting training on a regular basis.
In military conflict, the IDF
has not parachuted large forces into enemy territory since the jump into the
Mitla Pass during the 1956 Sinai Campaign.
Retaining the capability
however, is believed to be of extreme importance today particularly in face of a
potential future war with Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon or even with
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"We are restoring a capability that we once had," Paratroopers
Brigade commander Col. Amir Baram told reporters ahead of the jump which was
done from Israel Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft over the Negev
"We cannot know what will happen in the changing Middle East and
every western military which respects itself needs to know how to parachute
large forces, bring them back together and then launch an attack," he
According to Baram, dropping large forces behind enemy lines -
either by parachute or helicopters - could be done to surprise the enemy as part
of the opening act of a war or in the middle, after the fighting has already
During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, for example, the IDF
helicoptered large forces deep inside Lebanon as part of a last-ditch effort to
weaken Hezbollah before the United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into
Following the war, the IDF also bolstered its fleet of landing
craft that can be used to drop forces on the coasts of enemy
The brigade-level parachute jump came towards the end of weeks
of training for the Paratroopers Brigade ahead of its deployment along the
border with Lebanon and then the Gaza Strip. Earlier in the week, The Jerusalem
Post revealed that the IDF General Staff has instructed the Southern Command to
complete preparations for a large-scale operation in Gaza that could be launched in the near future.
Ahead of the brigade-level jump, Baram studied
the American and British doctrine for such jumps and military sources said that
the IDF Operations Directorate was currently working on drafting its own set of
commands that could be activated for drills or real military
One of the IDF's main concerns was that soldiers would be
injured during the jump due to the heavy loads they were carrying on their backs
which was expected to make the landing harder on their legs and knees. In the
end, however, out of around 1,000 soldiers who jumped, only four were
hospitalized with injuries to their legs.