The IDF’s "Chariots of Fire" Large-Scale Month-Long Exercise has Concluded

The "Chariots of Fire" large-scale month-long exercise has concluded. The participating forces in the exercise, which included both regular and reserve IDF soldiers from the General Staff to the tactical level, practiced dealing simultaneously with operational challenges and emerging situations across a variety of combat arenas, with a focus on the northern arena.

This morning, following the return of all participating IDF personnel to Israel, a military ceremony was held to conclude the exercise at the Haifa Port. The ceremony, attended by the Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi, was led by the Commanding Officer of JCOM and Commandant of the Military Colleges, MG Itai Veruv, and attended by commanders and soldiers who returned to Israel. IDF commanders expressed their gratitude for the immense work carried out by soldiers during the exercise, commending their determination, professionalism and ability to meet the various challenges presented during the exercise.

First Week of the “Chariots of Fire” Exercise:
The first week of the exercise emphasized strengthening multidimensional defensive strategies, while also dealing with active combat zones in multiple arenas and operational events. This part of the exercise examined the IDF’s readiness and ability to transition from routine to operational activity, as well as dealing with emerging scenarios.

Second Week of the “Chariots of Fire” Exercise:
The second week of the exercise began with an unannounced review by the Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi, which examined the readiness of the Israeli Navy. Additional exercises were held with the goal of strengthening and defending the Israeli home front, transferring logistical equipment during combat, preparing for the deployment of IDF units and effective aerial defense. At the same time, the exercise reinforced the IDF’s defensive capabilities in the northern and southern arenas.

Throughout the week, advanced and innovative capabilities originally created to thwart threats in both the cyber and spectrum dimensions were demonstrated. The Israeli Air Force also exercised striking capabilities and aerial defense for multi-arena scenarios. The IDF Southern Command simulated developing scenarios in the Gaza Strip, which required the mobilization of reserve soldiers to increase the reinforcement of defensive capabilities and operational missions. The Southern Command Headquarters implemented insights gained from Operation “Guardian of the Walls”, as well as recent operational plans involving the Gaza Strip. As part of the exercise, an incident involving hazardous materials was simulated for the first time. Furthermore, a number of rescue scenarios were exercised by the Search and Rescue Brigade.

Third Week of the “Chariots of Fire” Exercise:
The third week of the exercise began with another unannounced review by the Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi, which examined the Home Front Command and the Israeli Air Force in the face of unexpected emerging scenarios. These exercises included the joint training of maneuvering abilities along with fire support of various branches and units, and strengthened the IDF’s defensive capabilities in the northern arena in the face of various emergency scenarios on the home front.

A number of units from across the Israeli Air Force carried out the “Lethal Arrow” aerial exercise, which simulated combat scenarios in the northern arena and other arenas. The 162nd “Steel Formation” Division held an exercise in the north which prepared the division for ground maneuvering in a campaign. As part of the exercise, new innovations and changes were actualized which will lead to the quick negation of enemy capabilities, fast and accurate closing of circles, the activation of fire support, intelligence gathering and advanced maneuvering capabilities.

The IDF Central Command simulated extensive operational scenarios, while continuing to conduct ongoing counterterrorism efforts as part of Operation “Break the Wave”. During the week, various operational events were simulated by the Israeli Navy. Additionally, multi-arena logistical capabilities were drilled, which aim to support IDF deployments and provide them with the ability to conduct an extended campaign.

The Intelligence Directorate (J2) has utilized the Center for Defense and Maneuvering for the first time. Preparations included representation from all security units, and its role was to produce high-quality and relevant intelligence accessible to the maneuvering soldier at the operational end. In addition, the Intelligence Directorate’s “Target Coordinator” practiced coordinating strikes across a variety of operational plans, while growing the “Target Bank”.

The Technological and Logistics Directorate (J4) trained the deployment of a multi-arena logistics network that supports IDF deployments and provides the ability to conduct an extended campaign. In addition, the “Axis of Axes” operational program was practiced for the first time and trained the handling of emerging scenarios, rescue scenarios and construction operations. Participating in the exercise were soldiers from combat, logistics, police, medical and engineering units.

Final Week of the “Chariots of Fire” Exercise:
The final week of the exercise began with the “Beyond the Horizon / AGAPINOR” exercise, which was held in Cyprus. This unique and first-of-its-kind exercise included both regular and reserve military personnel from the 98th “Fire Formation” Division, squadrons from the Israeli Air force, special forces units from the Israeli Navy and Ground Forces, and additional units from the Intelligence Directorate (J2) and the J6 and Cyber Defense Directorate. The exercise was held in cooperation with the Cypriot National Guard and strengthened the connection between the two nation’s militaries. The IDF and Cypriot National Guard also trained together at the Tactical Training Center (TTC) in Tze’elim, Israel.

The exercise was conducted by the Urban Warfare Training Center and simulated unexpected real-world scenarios in unfamiliar territory, with the goal of increasing the IDF’s level of readiness during combat.

As part of the exercise, the IDF JCOM Headquarters oversaw widespread operational efforts to strike command centers deep within enemy territory across various terrain. This was done through cooperation between the 98th Division, Israeli Air Force, Israeli Navy, and special forces units.

Multiple senior Israeli officials attended the exercise at various stages, including the Prime Minister, Mr. Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Defense, Mr. Benny Gantz, and members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Members of the Security Cabinet of Israel also held an in-depth discussion at the IDF Headquarters where they discussed operational matters, approved plans and spoke about status updates.

The exercise was managed by the Operations Directorate’s (J3) “Operational Clock”, which oversaw operational procedures at the General Staff Headquarters. This was done in order to improve and train the IDF’s operational system and the directorate’s readiness for a potential campaign.

A review and learning process was conducted throughout the planning and initiation stages of the exercise with the goal of improving the IDF’s readiness and operational capabilities. This included review and learning processes held at all levels of military personnel serving in the IDF, including weekly analyses held by the General Staff Forum and the establishment of joint research and learning task force groups. These groups were led by brigadier and major generals from a variety of branches in both regular and reserve service, in order to examine the operational processes in the IDF. The conclusions and lessons will be summarized and applied upon completion of the analysis process.

The Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi:
"About an hour ago the IDF concluded a month-long exercise, and the last soldiers have just returned from Cyprus. I would like to express my great appreciation to those who participated in the exercise."

"I saw you all throughout the entire month. I saw professionalism, drive and excellent spirit. We already began the analysis and learning process yesterday, and two conclusions can already be drawn: The first, that there is a great sense of cooperation between the branches and units of the IDF, which is based on mutual trust and camaraderie. This is true power. Second, there is a phrase that the commanders repeated throughout the exercise many times, the “sense of ability”, which was established by the exercise."

"The IDF concludes this month with heightened confidence in its capabilities, and high confidence in its ability to perform. Following this month, the IDF is sharper, more coordinated, and more modernized and prepared."

"And if that wasn’t sufficient, throughout the month we continued to thwart terrorism in Judea and Samaria, as well as carry out special operations in all sectors. I applaud and appreciate each and every one of you."

Head of the Operations Directorate (J3), MG Oded Basiuk:
“The IDF is concluding the “Chariots of Fire” month-long exercise - one of the most extensive exercises we have ever carried out. The exercise's purpose was to test our soldiers’ capabilities and increase the IDF’s readiness for any potential scenario. The exercise's uniqueness stemmed from its ability to challenge the entire IDF for an extended period of time in an in-depth and multi-arena manner, which included warning drills and defensive exercises on the home front and long-range combat scenarios. The extended duration of the training allowed the IDF to learn, draw lessons and apply insights gained throughout the exercise. The exercise was held with the participation of all IDF commands, branches and directorates. It was also held in cooperation with relevant government bodies and included both regular, permanent and reserve military personnel. Throughout the exercise, the IDF continued its defensive efforts aimed to maintain security. The IDF remains at a constant level of readiness in the face of multiple operations and campaigns across a variety of arenas.”

Commanding Officer of JCOM and Commandant of the Military Colleges, MG Itai Veruv:
“During the War of Independence, Alterman wrote the poem 'Parking Night' with a message of a challenge clearly visible in modern times: The battlefield - the war."
"The work needed to create the Israeli nation is made up of intricate details, seemingly marginal efforts, innovative thinking, sleepless nights, common interests, the movements of crowds and the achievements of individuals. As a result of those details, the nation will rise and continue to grow."

The "IDF's unity" was built in the air, at sea, on land, through cyber defense and in intelligence arenas, and with the assistance of planning and logistics initiatives. Ultimately improving the branches of the IDF and their ability to advance in the face of the enemy and threats."

"We had the great privilege of taking part in enhancing, exercising and improving the IDF's capabilities for the day when a command is given."