24.02.2015 Talya Yariv - IAF
Blue-Green Cooperation: Representatives from the IAF Cooperation Unit arrived at the IDF Paratroopers Training Base last week in order to train the infantry commanders for helicopters-involved missions
Commanders from the IDF Paratroopers Brigade took part in a training course conducted by the IAF Cooperation Unit representatives despite the heavy rain last week. The training course was attended by officers between the ranks of Second Lieutenant and Captain, and precedes the three months of training in which the paratroopers will also practice IAF-related scenarios.
Speaking the Same Language
The training began with an overview on helicopters and attack helicopter in order to familiarize the commanders with their missions and the pilots' ability to assist during battle. Afterwards, the commanders donned full battle gear and assembled at the firing ranges of the base. There they were trained in several different scenarios: directing attack helicopters during attack missions, directing helicopters for evacuations and loading stretchers onto helicopters while in enemy territory.
Directing a helicopter requires that each side have a clear understanding of situation, and the synchronization between the pilot and the soldiers on the ground is of the utmost importance. "This training is vital for the commanders", said Major A, Head of instruction Department in the IAF Cooperation Unit. "They must be familiar with the aircraft that could help them in times of need".
Learning While Experimenting
The relatively small number of participants - 20 for each battalion - allowed for a more personal approach. Each Platoon Commander or Company Commander was given the chance to direct or witness the process of directing an attack helicopter to a chosen point. The attack helicopters then flew to the indicated waypoint, while other "Black Hawk" helicopters practiced evacuations from enemy territory.
The IAF makes sure to draw conclusions from each and every operation, and the lessons that were learnt from Operation "Protective Edge" were included in the training. The organizers of the course utilized various videos from the operation and screened them throughout the practice.