Israel‘s defense industries work in cooperation with the IAF and develop advanced technological means for the force, as well as the entire IDF. The cooperation is based on the need for mutual partnership, and is seen in open-ended discourse regarding the requirements of each side.
Last week (Thursday), personnel from Israel‘s defense industries – including Rafael Systems, Elbit Systems and Microsoft, among others – to a conference meant to bring professionals up to date regarding the IAF’s leading vectors over the coming years, including the force’s multi-year plan and the field of force buildup.
“The IAF considers Israel‘s defense industries true partners in shaping the air force as a dominant, influential force in the Middle East”, said Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, Chief of Air Staff. “Israel has the strongest air force in the region, and one of the strongest in the world”, added Brig. Gen. Shimon Tsentsiper, Head of the IAF’s Materiel Directorate, during his speech at the conference. “The group seated here – IAF service members, the Ministry of Defense and the aviation industries – you are all behind this. We need to understand your interests. We want to understand how we should work together and how we can find mutual solutions, all in order to preserve our air force’s power”.
One of the attendees was Ayelet Shapira, an executive at Rafael Systems. “We came here today because it’s important for us to help our main client – the IAF”, she elaborated. “Today’s conference was significant. It’s very important for us to hear the directions the force is headed in and follow suit”.
During the conference, IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin spoke of the current security situation in Israel and the force’s cooperation with Israel‘s defense industries. “Concluding 2018, we can see that it was a year unlike any other. Israel‘s seen some complex years – years of existential threat – but never a year such as this one”, he said. “I thought about Ashdod, which had 117 rockets fired in its direction just recently. Two days later, the city marked Israel‘s Memorial Day, with Independence Day following just one day afterwards. This sort of experience bears an influence on every part of the force – from technicians through engineers and to Human Resources. This is how it’s been over the past two years. This is the dilemma that’s on our minds when we wake up, and the reason we continue to build-up our force”.
“The connection between the two sides is incredibly important to me. I have a core belief that our country’s aviation industries are a part of Israel‘s national security, and this belief continues to grow stronger”, he concluded. “The connection between the IDF/IAF and the industries in Israel is unique when compared with other countries in the world, and it should be intensified. Operational capabilities bring people together – a 19-year-old girl who prepared the aircraft for a sortie, the engineer from the industries and the pilot who performs the sortie. These things don’t happen anywhere else in the world”.