How Israel's Air Force remains ready at all times

#33 - Leading Israel’s MABAM: Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin

IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin.
Facing multiple enemies on multiple fronts, it’s been a busy year for the Israel Air Force, under the command of Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin.
From the North to the South and beyond, both offensive and defensive, the past year was the most active year for the IAF in peacetime.
It’s also been a year where the IAF faced many challenges, from aging platforms needing to be grounded to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. All the while as thousands of operations were carried out by the men and women of the IAF, against targets belonging to Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
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But every week, IAF Commander Norkin visits a different squadron around the country, dons his flight suit and takes to the skies with the men and women under his command.
For Norkin, the people are the real strength behind Israel’s air force. It’s not only about platforms or its weapons, but the pilots, the technicians, the troops in the air control tower, the ground crew.
It’s the team behind the machine.
Under his leadership, the first women to lead IAF squadrons have taken command, a woman was appointed deputy commander of an F-15 combat squadron (Norkin was the youngest F-15 pilot in the world) and most recently the first woman to fly an F-35 stealth fighter has taken to the skies.
It’s also the relationship between the IAF and other air forces around the world.
For Norkin, the ability to increase the ties between Israel’s air force and foreign forces is paramount. International partners not only allow pilots to learn new techniques and form lasting bonds, but they strengthen Israel’s strategic depth.
With the neighborhood one of the most complicated in the world, he understands how critical it is for the air force to have joint training exercises with forces involved in operations in the region.
Under his tenure, which began in 2017 when he took over from Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, he’s overseen joint drills with dozens of countries and saw IAF aircraft land in the United Kingdom and Germany for the first time to take part in international air drills.
Though the IAF wasn’t Norkin’s first choice – he drafted into the Armored Corps in 1984 in his father’s footsteps before he switched gears and graduated from the prestigious Air Force Academy and received his wings in 1987 – he has climbed up the ladder of positions and ranks to command the tip of Israel’s spear.
Norkin has another two years as IAF commander and will most likely continue in his trajectory of strengthening the ties between the IAF and foreign air forces as well as sending Israeli aircraft deep into enemy territory to destroy what may pose a threat to the home front.