During the exercise
During the exerciseIDU

Over the past four days, the Israel Dog Unit, a nonprofit specializing in working dogs, has been conducting a joint exercise with the IAF in southern Israel.

The exercise lasted more than 100 consecutive hours and took place in the harsh terrain of the Negev desert. IDU volunteers portrayed hostile soldiers attempting to capture IAF cadets training to be fighter pilots.

Both organizations were pleased to report that the exercise was of mutual benefit, with the IDU volunteers refining skills used in their pursuits of terrorists and the IAF cadets practicing SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) skills used if a pilot must eject over hostile territory.

The exercise commanders noted the significance of training a new generation of soldiers in light of the ongoing war in Gaza, the exchanges of fire over the Lebanese and Syrian borders, and the growing airborne attacks from countries farther away, such as Yemen, Iraq, and Iran.

Israeli officials have repeatedly hinted that Israel will bomb targets even as far away as Iran itself if needed, and is reported to have been behind the attack on Iranian missile defense systems following the Iranian drone attack on Israel. The need for SERE training is known in Air Forces worldwide. Israel has known it to be necessary specifically when attacking such distant targets since at least the Six Day War, when Israeli pilots were shot down over multiple enemy countries and taken captive.

The training exercise follows a general announcement in March that the IAF was resuming all training programs, which had been frozen at the beginning of the war.

IDU Director Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov commented: "We are pleased to extend our cooperation with the Air Force, which assists in the national effort of thwarting terror attacks and locating missing persons - the two main areas that the IDU deals with. We are also pleased to help in the training of the Air Force pilots. There is no doubt that this exercise contributed to improving the capabilities of both the dog handlers and the Air Force cadets. We see it as a privilege to operate with determined soldiers with high motivation to carry out what is required to protect the citizens of Israel. We salute the Air Force."