Israel Trains German Pilots to Fly Drones in Afghanistan

(VOA) Some German pilots that are part of NATO operations in Afghanistan are in Israel for training on special reconnaissance drones. The Jewish state's expertise is helping to train the Germans to protect ground troops and convoys in Afghanistan.

At Israel's Ein Shemer air base, a Heron drone takes off for a training mission. But this propeller-driven aircraft is bright white with a black iron cross and the red, yellow, and black flag of the German Luftwaffe on its side. Inside a non-descript metal building, a German pilot controls the craft, which carries high-resolution cameras and other equipment.

Germany has the third-largest NATO contingent in Afghanistan - 4,300 personnel. The Germans ordered a small fleet of the Heron drones from Israel Aerospace Industries to help prevent civilian casualties and friendly-fire incidents in the rugged Afghan terrain.

One of the pilots in training - identified as Major C to preserve military secrecy - says having the drones in Afghanistan will be invaluable.

"It's a huge support because then we can finally do intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance right over the battlefields in real life, so we support the troops and we can support convoys driving around in real time," said Major C.

Inside the training building, pilots and instructors sit behind controls and computer screens. A map and the view from the drone's cameras are displayed in front of each pilot. German pilot Major T used to fly a Tornado plane in Afghanistan. He says the drones could have a huge impact.

"So you know in Afghanistan it's really hard to compare the good guys from the bad guys," said Major T. "So you have to surveil them a long time until you can say 'okay, maybe he's kind of a suspicious person, so maybe we should investigate it a longer time or not.' So that's the main reason why we have the Heron there."

Israel is one of the pioneers of combat drones, having used the remote-controlled aircraft in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. The United States, Canada, France, Australia and Spain also use drones in Afghanistan.

But Israeli experts training German pilots at an airbase that Britain's RAF used to fight the Germans in World War II is an historical irony not lost on Tomer Koriat, the deputy director of the training project. Koriat says his team has a great deal of respect for their German students.

"How do I feel about this issue, us supporting the Germans? From the beginning of the project till today all of us have learned that today we are talking about another Germany than what we used to know," said Koriat.

Each of the Heron drones costs about $10 million, depending on how it is equipped. Because Afghanistan is an Islamic republic, Israeli mechanics will not be able to provide maintenance. A German partner - Rheinmetall Defence - will maintain the aircraft once they are deployed.

Copyright © Jewish Internet Defense Force
All Rights Reserved

The views expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the JIDF. The content is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual. This site's intention is to do no harm, to not injure others, defame, or libel. All data and information provided on this site is for informational, educational, and/or entertainment purposes only. The Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) makes no representations as to accuracy, currentness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use, or access to this site. We are not responsible for translation or interpretation of content. We are not responsible for defamatory statements bound to government, religious or other laws from the reader’s country of origin. All information is provided on an as-is basis with no warranties, and confers no rights. We are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, opinions expressed, privacy policies, products or services or for any damages or losses, directly or indirectly, caused or alleged to have been caused as a result of your use or reliance on such information on the Jewish Internet Defense Force site. This site includes links to other sites and blogs operated by third parties. These links are provided as a convenience to you and as an additional avenue of access to the information contained therein. We have not reviewed all of the information on other sites and are not responsible for the content of any other sites or any products or services that may be offered through other sites. The inclusion of these links in no way indicates their endorsement, support or approval of the contents of this site or the policies or positions of the JIDF. We have the right to edit, remove or deny access to content that is determined to be, in our sole discretion, unacceptable. These Terms and Conditions of Use apply to you when you view, access or otherwise use this blog and the Website. The JIDF is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Related Posts with Thumbnails