With the 50th year commemoration of the Yom Kippur war in the coming weeks, the most important lesson of the traumatic war that caught Israel unprepared and on the verge of an existential threat to its very survival, has been to ensure that Israel will never again find herself unprepared for any external threat that can threaten the very existence of Israel.
In recent months during the height of the anti-judicial reform demonstrations, reserve and retired military pilots of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) have played a major role and have publicly called for justifying insubordination and disobeying of orders when called up for active service or for training missions against the Iranian regime. The calls to disobey orders and refuse to serve have been made despite Iranian leaders publicly and repeatedly calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.
Still resonating in the ears of military and security leaders responsible for defending and preparing Israel for that crucial moment is the shocking proclamation, with his back to the camera, of an unidentified reserve pilot-"If you don't stop the (judicial) legislation we won't attack Iran."
This small yet vocal group of reserve and retired military pilots have created a new strategic situation that questions the future role of military pilots in defending Israel and whether they can be counted on to man their cockpits when needed. Will they abandon their cockpits and cease to defend their county? Will they play chicken with Israel’s existential security preparedness?
These pilots, enjoying wide-spread support from leaders of the anti-judicial reform movement, mainstream media, and progressive political leaders have turned Israel’s security and defense needs into a political pawn. For those entrusted and responsible for defending and maintaining Israel’s strategic preparedness, the only logical conclusion is that Israel’s pilots can no longer be solely responsible for defending Israel against the Iranian threat. These pilots have crossed the fine line between democratic dissent and endangering Israel’s national security needs, forcing Israel’s political and security leadership to adopt new defense technologies that are reliable and unfailing while diminishing the need for and dependency on military pilots.
For most objective observers, the anti-judicial reform movement has shown over recent months that it is not necessarily against the government’s legislative agenda, but is against the very legitimacy of Israel’s democratically elected government. Protest leaders and their supporters from opposition political parties understand that they will not be able in the foreseeable future garner sufficient public support to topple Israel’s conservative government or win a national election. Protest leaders are resigned to the fact that at best they can subdue and prohibit the government from fulfilling its election platform of judicial reform by escalating tensions among the majority that voted in Israel’s current government and turning citizens against each other, sliding down the dangerous slippery slope toward anarchy. The above-described group of Israel’s reserve and retired military pilots have willingly taken a leading role in this political insurrection against a democratically elected government.
Alongside this realization, Israel has become in recent years, a world leader of technological innovation in military platform systems that enable defense and security leaders to responsibly adopt and integrate these new cutting edge technologies and systems. Military pilots will no longer hold the dominant role of manning Israel’s defense platforms. The release of information from open sources on these systems in recent months only strengthens the assessment that we are in a process of recalibrating Israel’s strategic defensive and offensive defense posture. The self-induced process of making military pilots obsolete has begun and will only accelerate.
Examples of these systems have been publicized in open sources, most likely due to the need for enhancing Israel’s deterrence as a result of the military pilots' vocal insubordination and refusal to serve.
The most recent system to be shown publicly is the “Iron Beam”. This system uses a fiber laser to destroy any airborne target, whether acting as a stand-alone system or with external cueing as part of an air-defense system. The hypersonic missile is the latest strategic weapon in the evolution of arms designed to beat interception systems like Israel’s “Iron Dome.” Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a leading Israeli defense technology company recently announced the development of an advanced missile interceptor dubbed “Sky Sonic,” described as a groundbreaking defensive response to the growing threat of hypersonic missiles. Rafael’s “Sky Sonic” interceptor represents a major technological leap in hypersonic missile defense. It is designed with exceptional maneuverability and high-speed capabilities, allowing it to effectively neutralize hypersonic missiles – which travel at ten times the speed of sound – with unmatched precision and stealth.
Necessitating proactive measures to safeguard national security, Rafael is according to reports, at the forefront of developing an effective solution to counter hypersonic threats, and is already known for its pioneering contributions in the field of defense systems such as the renowned Iron Dome, David's Sling, and the cutting-edge "Iron Beam" laser-based system. The systems mentioned above, according to reports, are operational and undergoing integration into Israel’s strategic military preparedness. The role and need for pilots will continue its diminishing trajectory allowing Israel’s defense leaders to prepare Israel for the threats of tomorrow.
Israel’s reserve and retired pilots have played a pivotal role in diminishing their role within Israel’s strategic map. They have willingly and “triumphantly” tossed away the highly regarded role model that military pilots enjoyed over the past 75 years since Israel’s establishment, by seeing themselves as a political force that can hold Israeli voters hostage.
The technological advancements expected in the coming years will only accelerate the trend that will give military pilots a secondary role, making them obsolete sooner rather than later, as the Iranian threat becomes the single most existential threat for the State of Israel.