Black Hawk helicopter
Black Hawk helicopterIsrael news photo: IDF spokesmen

Air Force helicopter pilots staged a surprise drill Tuesday in a simulated attack on its base near Tel Aviv. "As far as we're concerned a war broke out today,” said Black Hawk squadron commander Major “Amir.”

The exercise was conducted to increase preparedness for a rocket attack on the Air Force’s Palmachim base, near Rishon LeTzion, located on the southern edge of metropolitan Tel Aviv.

Israeli intelligence officials have frequently stated that Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza possess medium-range missiles that can hit Tel Aviv. Missiles previously have struck as far as the area of Yavne, located less than five miles from Rishon LeTzion.

"The main emphasis today is on cooperation between the different forces stationed at the air base, especially between helicopters and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles),” said the squadron commander.

Combat helicopter pilots were confronted with surprise attacks and more. "Upon taking off the pilots did not know where they would land," explained Lt. Col. “N.”

"We were sitting at the station and were suddenly surprised," said Cpl. Tzachi, one of the pilots that participated in the drill. “Exercises like this one are important and should be taken seriously."