The IDF is preparing for the largest parachuting exercise in recent years, due to the tension near the northern border, Ha’aretz reported Sunday. The exercise, to be held in mid-2018, will include the entire paratroopers corps and will involve parachuting a lot of equipment. The exercise will also involve coordination with special forces. Haaretz quoted a senior IDF officer who said, “We are preparing for a situation where the fighting will take place far away from home.”
The paratroopers will conduct a nighttime exercise in the south, practicing parachuting and taking over an area. According to an IDF source, in addition to the soldiers, IAF planes will be dropping heavy equipment, vehicles, ammunition, and supplies.
This will be the corps first broad exercise with the new regulation parachute produced by the US manufacturer Airborne, which makes it possible to land in many different terrains.
It will also be the first major parachuting exercise to be using the “Samson” Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, which were integrated by the IAF in 2014. The new plane, designed to perform special missions, carries more weight than the previous Hercules models, and can fly at low altitudes. The Samson can carry 92 paratroopers and their equipment, or four military vehicles for special missions.
According to the senior IDF officer quoted by Ha’aretz, the preparations of the force under his command are intended to prevent a situation in which the fighting will begin on the Israeli border.
“We are preparing for a situation where the fighting will be far away from home,” the officer said, adding that his force will be facing “a situation in which we will have to cope for a considerable period of time with whatever is available in the area where we parachute in terms of food, drink and even vehicles. The IDF is preparing for a situation in which it will not be possible to transfer equipment and supplies to the front on a regular basis.”
Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, speaking at the INSS research institute, referring to the possibility of a military confrontation erupting conflagration at the northern border, said that it is possible that in the next battle in Lebanon the IDF will have to send foot soldiers into the fray.
“No one is looking for adventures,” Liberman said, “But if we are already destined, our aim would be to end this as quickly and unequivocally as possible with a clear goal. From what we have seen in all the conflicts in the Middle East, unfortunately, without soldiers on the ground it is not over.”