Delivering airborne supply is a crucial capability on the battlefield. It is a capability which combines air and ground activities. An accurate airdrop is essential in these missions and behind every airdrop mission stand dozens of participants from both branches of the IDF. Together, they act like one machine to make sure the missions are executed properly.
Earlier this month, The “Yellow Bird” Hercules squadron joined the aerial loading unit and the Special Flight & Training Center (SFTC) to practice airdrop supply and strengthen the cooperation between the units.
“The main object of the training exercise is to enhance mission-related cooperation and practicing airborne supply meticulously, step by step,” says Captain Dan, a pilot of the “Yellow Bird” squadron.
When Sky and Earth Meet
When it comes to delivering equipment to the front, every phase is significant. The first questions posed are: What type of equipment to load? How to place it inside of the plane?
As a result, the preparation begins before the equipment is even brought to the Nevatim airbase, when the SFTC gathers the demands from all forces and allocates the equipment.
After inspection and packaging, the package starts its journey to the southern Negev and received by the “Yellow Bird” squadron and the aerial loading unit, which determines the delivery destination.
The loading inspectors carefully place the equipment inside the Hercules C-130 and the plane takes off for the mission. Still, there are many parameters and threats which can jeopardize the success of the mission.
“On the bottom line, these missions take place outside the borders of Israel so we have to take into account ground and aerial threats,” explains Captain Dan. “In addition, the Hercules plane must be in the right speed and position before dropping the equipment, just like a fighter jet prepares for airstrike. We have to make sure the package leaves the plane perfectly so it does not land far from our troops. By considering every possible aspect, we are able to reach maximum precision.”