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July 5, 2012 11:37 am

Drone Competition Relieves Stress for IDF Operators

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IAI Heron 1 UAV in flight. Photo: wiki commons.

Earlier this week, the Israeli Defense Forces held a competition for the operators of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“It’s a very challenging mission to create training days for the UAV squadrons, since they are all busy with operational missions,” Lt. Col. Alon, who heads UAV instruction for the Israeli Air Force said.

Alon noted that operational increases linked to the flood of rockets which were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip recently, put a lot of stress on IDF UAV operators.

“In order for us to conduct an intense exercise, we had to really pull together every resource available. It was important for us to make this event happen, since it let the squadrons relieve some pressure after the escalation in the south.”

The competitors were evaluated based on their abilities to locate targets in difficult terrain, navigate without GPS systems, and perform in rough conditions such as weather issues and communications breakdowns.

“Simulating the enemy allows us to demonstrate various scenarios and dilemmas to the formations,” said Maj. Eyal, head of the IDF’s Enemy Simulations Unit. “For example, if one of the ‘terrorists’ steps out of a vehicle, should we follow him or should we follow the vehicle?”

“These are things we could potentially face during operations, and we have to be prepared,” explained Maj. Eyal.

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