19.02.2014 Noami Tzoref - IAF
For the first time ever, the "Scorpion" squadron from the Hatzor airbase took part in a training exercise alongside the reconnaissance unit of the Paratrooper Brigade. In addition to the F-16C/D flights providing firepower assistance to ground forces, the aircrews also participated in planning targets and even took part in a ground raid exercise
The "Scorpion" squadron from the Hatzor airbase, which has been tightening its cooperation with the Paratrooper Brigade for a while, has taken this cooperation to a new level: the aircrews recently took part in ground exercises alongside the soldiers of the reconnaissance unit.
"This was the first time that we participated in every part of the exercise", explains First Lieutenant Assaf, the officer in charge of the cooperation in the squadron. "From the first moment we executed everything together. We examined the area together with officials from the brigade; we had an influence on the choice of targets and even took part in a ground combat exercise".
In addition to the firepower support provided by the F-16C/D fighters to the ground forces, the reconnaissance unit forces were also joined in a ground exercise by two other "guests": Lieutenant Colonel Tomer and First Lieutenant Assaf, who took off their G-suits and helmets and donned a camouflage ground-force uniform instead. "We had never experienced a ground exercise like a unit entrance into a certain area before and we were really impressed", he adds.
Although the aircrews and the soldiers from brigade already knew each other, this exercise was different from previous exercises, in terms of its purpose. "In recent months, we in the squadron, have been focusing on cooperation with the reconnaissance unit of the Paratrooper Brigade", explains First Lieutenant Assaf. "Unlike preparations for a war which breaks out suddenly, with the reconnaissance unit we train for specific operations in which we work together".
Between Two Worlds
The cooperation between the fighters squadrons and the infantry brigades continues to grow.
"It's a really eye-opening experience", explains First Lieutenant Assaf. "For example, the IAF can easily remove an obstacle standing in the way of ground forces and thus significantly shorten their journey".
On the other side of the two-way radio, there is also satisfaction with the cooperation being formed between both forces.
"I am very happy about the cooperation with the 'Scorpion' squadron", said Colonel Eliezer Toledano, commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, at the end of the exercise. "Although we are as far apart from one another as the ground and the sky and there is no shortage of gaps between us, we are nonetheless creating a common language between both worlds".