The secretive units deep in the maze of an Israel Air Force base. A commander of the IAF’s airborne electronic warfare unit.
Nestled deep in the maze of an Israel Air Force base, secretive units form an essential component in any Israeli air strike in enemy territory with air defenses.
Indeed, they would have been an inseparable part of recent air force strikes in Syria, attributed to Israel by foreign media reports, to stop the transfer of sophisticated missiles and air defenses to Hezbollah.
No potential future air campaign in Iran, against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear sites, would be possible without the units.
This is the Electronic Warfare (EW) Section, which is made up of two units.
One operates from the air in specially fitted planes, and the second is ground based.
The two units work in synergy, viewing themselves as part of a greater whole.
They disrupt the enemy’s radar systems, blinding and dazing those being targeted for strikes. They can paralyze enemy communications systems needed to coordinated defenses.
The units also keep fighter jets safe from enemy EW attacks.
When “playing defense,” EW personnel will disrupt the communications of hostile aircraft, such as Hezbollah drones, attempting to intrude upon Israeli airspace, and prevent them from communicating with their ground stations.
The IAF’s airborne Electronic Warfare unit — called Sky Crows — has a new commander, a 39-year-old father of three, who spoke to The Jerusalem Post from his office in early September.
“What is Electronic Warfare? It’s a thought experiment,” he said cryptically.
Hampered by the need to keep the unit’s activities classified, the commander divulged the little that he could.
“This is a war between two sides. Each side works with radars and communications.
The enemy uses these. He wants to protect his skies.”
“We want to protect our skies,” he continued.
“A radar readout is the basis of how we seek our skies.”
“We’re not firing kinetic weapons, but rather, electrons, so that the other side will find it very, very, very difficult to discover our jets,” the commander, a lieutenant-colonel, said.
The world of Electronic Warfare is like an eternal cat and mouse game, he added. “We must stay one step ahead,” he stressed. He warned against underestimating Israel’s enemies, and said that keeping a modest attitude is vital.
“EW is an intrinsic part of achieving aerial supremacy. If a plane penetrates Israeli air space, we have the ability to disrupt its communications,” he said.
“We’re a full partner in maintaining Israeli air security, and in missions of supreme national security,” he stated.
“Wherever the IAF is required to take action, we’ll be there. We’re a part of all of the IAF’s sub-missions. We’ll defend the fighter plane that will fly in combat,” the source said. He referred to a “security envelope,” also known as an “EW suit,” which must be fitted around every warplane heading into action. “This is an encompassing suit,” the source explained.
“We’re connected by the umbilical cord to all of the air force’s operational needs. We’re in close cooperation with the flight squadrons. There’s an ongoing dialogue between …read more