IDF Trains for Missions in Iran, Air Force Officer Says

Senior officer speaks to Maariv daily about Air Force preparations to strike distant targets, says Israeli planes to be downed in next war.

IDF Trains for Missions in Iran, Air Force Officer Says 1
IDF trains for missions in Iran (Archive: IAF/Creative Commons)

The Israel Air Force is training for missions in remote locations such as Iran, a senior officer told Maariv daily Friday. The IDF’s ongoing bombing campaign in Syria is helping to prepare Israeli pilots for an all-out war, he added.

Brigadier General Amir Lazar, the Air Division chief, refused to directly answer if the army has a credible military option against Iran’s nuclear project. The IDF is currently drawing up new operational plans to neutralize Tehran’s program, a recent report said.

However, the senior officer said that the Air Force has the capabilities to strike in Iran and other distant theaters. “We are training for it and working on it,” he told Maariv.

Cooperation with US

Notably, the Air Force has been holding more exercises to simulate long-range strikes, including midair refueling. Long-distance operations require the Air Force to adjust its combat doctrine, Brig. Gen. Lazar said.

Close collaboration with the US military is also necessary, he stressed, adding that all sides benefit from the expansion of joint efforts.

Israel and the US deepened their security ties in recent years, and this cooperation is expected to continue during President Biden’s term. The IDF used American intelligence to carry out a major airstrike in eastern Syria last week, AP reported.

Preparing for war

The senior Air Force officer also stressed that Israel’s strikes in Syrian territory provide strategic value for the IDF beyond the immediate impact. “It also prepares us for war, should it break out,” he said.

Israeli pilots are boosting their skill level and resilience by contending with the dense array of Syria’s air defenses, Lazar said. The pilots are operating in hostile territory and seeing enemy missiles fired at them regularly, he noted.

Notably, as part of its training sessions, the Air Force has been simulating emergency landings in enemy countries. During the interview, Lazar said that he expects Israeli airplanes to be downed in a future war, but that this will not stop the IDF from achieving its objectives.