The IAF held a competition this week testing the skill levels of its various unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadrons, the IAF Website reported. The participating UAV units were assessed on their success in spotting various targets, navigating within the country's borders, and locating missile launching targets.
First Lt. Matan, a participant in the competition, described some of the tests on which he and his colleagues were evaluated. "We had to pass through different points in a limited time; we went from Atlit to the Golan Heights," he recounted. "It was very difficult to find some of the targets, since they were in a forested area."
Mai Efrat and Lya Shanel of the IAF Website reported that the competition also forced UAV operators to cope with challenges like problematic weather, communication difficulties, and navigating without a GPS.
"It's a very challenging mission to create training days for the UAV squadrons, since they are all busy with operational missions," said Lt. Col. Alon, Head of Combat Training and UAVs in the Instruction Department of the IAF. "In order for us to conduct an intense exercise, we had to really pool together every resource available. It was important for us to make this event happen, since it gave the squadrons some relief from pressure after the escalation in the south."
"Simulating the enemy allows us to demonstrate various scenarios and dilemmas to the formations," said Maj. Eyal, head of the 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.