The Air Force on Wednesday presented its annual operational activity summary, which included tens of thousands of flight hours, and hundreds of aerial sorties – mostly in the Gaza Strip.
IAF Commander Major General Ido Nechushtan stressed that the northern border will continue to be on top of the agenda for the Air Force. "The northern front, including Syria, is unstable. We are closely following the recent developments in that area," he said.
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According to the report, 2011 saw a record number of operational drone flights. These aircraft are active around the clock in certain fronts, and have continuously monitored the Gaza Strip area during the recent security escalation.
The IDF also reported the successful deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which intercepted over 30 rockets fired from Gaza during its first months of activity.
Training with Italian Air Force (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
A senior Air Force official noted that military bases in southern Israel have also become a target for terrorist organizations in the Strip. "A special reserves brigade will be formed in each base, in order to address the immediate needs during a rocket attack."
The official also mentioned the arrival of Italian Air Force pilots to Israel – a first visit of its kind – in order to train with IAF Squadrons.
Addressing the discontinuation of military training with the Turkish Air Force, the official said, "We hope to continue training with the Turks some day. We have direct military coordination with them, which was weakened after the publication of the Palmer report, but has been restored to normal," he said.
At the end of the month, five women are expected to complete the IAF flight course and receive their pilot wings. "In the Air Force we have women serving in almost all positions," said Nechushtan amidst an ongoing public debate about the exclusion of women in the army and other public spheres. "The integration of women in the IAF is nothing new," he added.
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