IAF Parts With IDF Chief of Staff

Just before Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi took on the role of IDF Chief of Staff, leaving Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot paid a parting visit to the IAF. Before officially concluding his service, Lt. Gen. Eizenkot visited the Pilot’s Mount and Hatzerim AFB in order to experience the air force for the last time. Escorting him on his visit was IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin. During the visit, Lt. Gen. Eizenkot met with senior IAF commanders, airbase commanders and squadron commanders.

Photography: Mike Yudin

Final Flight
The visit began at a fallen IAF soldier monument in the Pilot’s Mount. Afterwards, the IDF Chief of Staff flew in the “Yanshuf” (Black Hawk) helicopter alongside Maj. Gen. Norkin and Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, Head of the IAF Headquarters. They proceeded to land in the IAF Flight Academy’s sorting squadron, where the Flight Course’s first stage sorting flights are performed. After receiving an overview of the academy and briefing for the flight, Lt. Gen. Eizenkot took off on a sortie in the “Snunit” (G-120) aircraft piloted by the squadron commander.

Photography: Mike Yudin

Later on, the IDF Chief of Staff visited the 69th (“Hammers”) Squadron, which operates the “Ra’am” (F-15I) fighter jet. The IDF Chief of Staff was shown an exhibition of the IAF’s capabilities and platforms in the squadron’s HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelter). Some of the platforms exhibited include “Ra’am” and “Sufa” (F-16I) jet fighters, a “Zik” (Hermes 450) RPAV (Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle), the “Iron Dome” weapon system, various bombs and munitions used by the force, the “Lavi” (M-346) trainer aircraft and the “Harvard” aircraft utilized by the IAF Museum. Afterwards, Lt. Gen. Eizenkot met with the IAF’s executive staff and concluded the day with a guard of honor for him, held on the Flight Academy’s parade ground.

“I salute you”
The IAF’s activity has grown under the command of Lt. Gen. Eizenkot – the force acquired flight platforms and weapon systems, and operated in various theatres, performing surgical strikes, thwarting the enemy and protecting Israel‘s citizens.

Photography: Mike Yudin

During his tenure, the IDF Chief of Staff visited the IAF’s various airbases several times in order to see the force’s activity. In May of 2018, he awarded the 69th Squadron with a medal of appreciation for its activity in various complex theatres while showing initiative, innovation and fortitude. “I salute you in the name of the entire IDF for your work, contribution, professionalism, modesty and the way you perform your mission to ensure Israel‘s security”, said Lt. Gen. Eizenkot in a ceremony held in Hatzerim AFB.

Photography: Alexandra Aksyutich

In the summer of 2017, just several months after the IAF integration of the “Adir” (F-35I) stealth fighter, the IDF Chief of Staff arrived at Nevatim AFB alongside the General Staff Forum and visited the squadron operating the fifth-generation aircraft. In the beginning of 2016 Lt. Gen. Eizenkot arrived at Hatzor AFB, where he put on a flight suit and performed a simulated training sortie at the Mission Training Center. In the beginning of 2018, he received a tour of Palmahim AFB, received an insight into the activity of the “Shaldag” Unit and joined a sortie on a “Yanshuf” helicopter.  

Photography: Mike Yudin

Last August, Lt. Gen. Eizenkot was present at a year summation ceremony in the IAF Operational Headquarters. At the ceremony, he praised the IAF’s work and the contribution of its service members to the safety of Israel‘s citizens. “This is an opportunity for me to show great gratitude for your work, for your planning, and first and foremost, the spirit present in the IAF’s initiative over the past year”, said Lt. Gen. Eizenkot to the Operational HQ’s service members. “There’s you, there’s the squadrons, and there’s the operational end which puts everything to work. Your precision, quality and ability to learn and debrief, alongside constant improvement – these allow us to succeed at our missions and protect the citizens of Israel”.

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