Recently, the Israeli Air Force’s Apache attack helicopters division held a training exercise in southern Israel. About 40 aircrew members participated in the exercise, including regular service and reserve duty personnel, as well as about 14 Apache helicopters from both of the IAF’s attack helicopter squadrons located in Ramon AFB: The 113th (“Hornet”) Squadron which operates the “Saraf” (Apache Longbow) and the 190th (“Magic Touch”) Squadron which operates the “Peten” (Apache).
In the exercise, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) drilled operational scenarios that are relevant to every attack helicopter pilot – flying under threat, attacking targets deep in enemy territory, cannon fire, anti-tank guided missiles, and more. IAF practice these scenarios regularly in the squadron, but this current exercise is unique since the two squadrons cooperated in order to learn from each other through joint flight and practice the fundamentals of flying attack helicopters.
As stated, the aircrew members executed operational scenarios relevant to the southern Israeli theatre in the joint training exercise and strengthened the cooperation between the squadrons. It includes facing tactical threats, flying at low-altitudes, attacking, and nighttime flying. In real-time, IAF fly in cooperation, but in this unique exercise IAF flew in a formation of four helicopters – two Apache Longbows and two Apaches, as opposed to each squadron flying in separate formations.
The Israeli Air Force first received AH-64As in 1990, for a fleet of 42 by 2000.In 2000, Israel was interested in acquiring up to 48 AH-64Ds, but U.S. reluctance to share the source code complicated the prospect. In April 2005, Boeing delivered the IAF’s first AH-64D. In IAF service, the AH-64A was named Peten (Cobra), while the AH-64D was named Saraph (venomous/fiery winged serpent). By 2013, IAF AH-64As were receiving a comprehensive upgrade of their avionics and electrical systems. The AH-64As are being upgraded to the AH-64Ai configuration, which is near the AH-64D standard. IAF Apaches can carry Spike anti-tank missiles instead of the Hellfire.