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July 10, 2013 2:33 pm

Defense Cuts Harm IDF’s Operational Platforms

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Israel Air Force planes. Photo: Israel Defense Forces. – The Israel Defense Forces began to implement government-mandated cuts to its budget, announcing Tuesday that several of its operational platforms will be reconfigured, while others will be retired, in an effort to slash its expenditures.

The defense establishment has been asked to slash some 22 billion shekels ($6 billion) from its budget over the next three years. As part of the operational restructuring, the Israel Air Force will shut down one of its veteran squadrons and fuse two other squadrons into one. One of the IDF’s ground units will also be shut down, and several brigades will be reconfigured accordingly.

IAF Chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel met Tuesday with the servicemen assigned to the squadron that is scheduled to be dissolved, and broke the news to them.

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“The IAF would rather forfeit a jet than cut back on flight hours. We would rather have well-trained pilots and advanced equipment than hollow capabilities,” a senior IAF officer told Israel Hayom.

The IDF has yet to finalize the restructuring of some of its ground units, but a military source familiar with the issue said the army would retire outdated tanks and other equipment whose operational relevance had significantly reduced over the years, ahead of making any changes that would affect personnel.

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