09.04.2014 Noa Fenigstein - iaf.org.il
This week, the Hercules C-130J, an advanced transport plane, will land at Nevatim airbase. Not many people know that the procurement deal became one of the most complex deals the IAF has ever known. What is behind one of the IAF's most expensive and significant procurement deals in recent years?
This week, the Hercules C-130J plane, one of the best transport planes in the world, will land at Nevatim airbase and will join the ranks of the IAF and the Heavy Transport Division. Against the backdrop of the defense budget cuts, the Hercules C-130J procurement deal became one of the largest, most complex and most challenging processes the IAF and the Ministry of Defense- the Budget Department in particular-have experienced in recent years.
Cuts in the defense budget in the IAF and the IDF have forced decision-makers to take drastic measures: squadrons have been consolidated and even the human resources have been hurt following the dismissal of many commissioned officers. Nonetheless, the IAF has had to remain vigilant and stand firm against the challenges of the day.
"Usually, the people who work in the Budget Department know how to come and say 'these are the resources, good luck'. But that's definitely not our approach", explained Major Galit Golan, Head of Transport Procurements at the Budget Department. "We bring the solutions, we understand the operational needs and we are connected to them".
The Battle Between The Real and The Ideal
The IAF is not economic entity, so when economic considerations are balanced against operational considerations, the latter far outweighs the former, which held true in the purchase of the Hercules C-130J. How would the department reconcile the purchase with the economic reality? "If we decided that we were going to buy the platform and were going to direct the IAF to that point, the Budget department would have to do its best to make it happen", explained Major Galit. "However, there is a lack of resources and we need to find creative solutions in order give the IAF the best answers and that's where the tension starts".