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Helicopter/Transport Exercise Release date 15.05.2019
The IAF's "Yas'ur" helicopter and "Karnaf" transport aircraft squadrons recently participated in an exercise focusing on aerial refueling. As part of the exercise, aircrews from the "Karnaf" squadron boarded the "Yas'ur" helicopters and vice versa
Noa Rokni, Illy Pe'ery & Dor Palkovic

A "Karnaf" (Hercules C-130HI) transport aircraft takes off at a sharp angle and soars upwards. At the same time, a "Yas'ur" (CH-53) helicopter rises higher and higher. The two aircraft – operated by the 131st ("Knights of the Yellow Bird"), 118th ("Night Riders") and 114th ("Night Leaders") Squadrons – recently participated in an exercise focusing on aerial refueling.

Photography: Nir Ben Yosef

"The 131st Squadron, which operates the 'Karnaf' aircraft, visited Tel-Nof AFB, where we trained together with the goal of practicing various refueling scenarios and improving our combat doctrines", elaborated Lt. A', an aircrew member at the 118th Squadron. Lt. O', an aircrew member from the 131st Squadron, added: "This day is meant to help us improve in the field of aerial refueling while learning what things look like from the 'Yas'ur' Division's point of view".

Archive Photo

Same Place, Same Time
Before embarking on the mission, the crews decide on a time and place in the designated airspace to which the aircraft will arrive for the refueling process. Both the "Yas'ur" and the "Karnaf" have robe-and-drogue systems installed. The two then attach and the fuel begins flowing, all while the aircraft fly ahead at the same speed and in the same direction, in perfect synchronization.

Photography: Nir Ben Yosef

"There hasn't been a training day dedicated entirely to aerial refueling for quite a while", said Lt. A'. "Aerial refueling usually occurs during long-distance flights", elaborated Lt. O'. "We hoped to improve our capabilities in this field with this exercise - we even performed several unique scenarios which we don't usually perform during routine".

Over the past years, the "Karnaf" aircraft has undergone a modification process replacing the cockpit systems with newer, more advanced models. The modification process bears a great influence on the 131st Squadron and the field of aerial refueling in general. "The new modified systems significantly shorten the time it takes to detect the helicopter in the airspace. It now takes us one third of the time it previously took us", elaborated Lt. O'.

Photography: Mike Yudin

Both Sides Now
The aircrews also observe each other as part of the exercise, with "Yas'ur" Division aircrew members spectating over aerial refueling from the "Karnaf" aircraft and vice versa. "These spectating scenarios allow us to understand how the things we do influence the other force", described Lt. A'. "We debrief after the exercise and make adjustments to our combat doctrines accordingly. These conclusions improve our activity in both training and operational activity".

"The most important thing about this exercise is that it allows for cross-fertilization. When the two forces meet and talk to each other, they bridge over the gaps", elaborated Lt. A'. Lt. O' concluded: "This cross-fertilization will allow us to learn how the 'Yas'ur' division operates".