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Israeli air force training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Little Rock Air Force Base is the home of C-130 Hercules aircraft and aircrew training, but it can also be a home away from home for many international students.

The 314th Airlift Wing's "Center of Excellence" hosts students from all over the world to learn the C-130 and its mission inside and out.

Though a bulk of the training happens here, the training mission doesn't stop at the base gate. Maj. Kevin Coughlin, the 48th Airlift Squadron flight commander and an instructor pilot, had the opportunity to travel far from Little Rock AFB to train Israeli aircrew members beyond the initial training level.

Coughlin was the only pilot selected from Little Rock AFB. He joined three other pilots at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where they conducted course preparation before heading to Nevatim Israeli air force base.

The goal was to arm Israeli air force C-130J aircrews with the skills and knowledge required to employ the Coordinated Aircraft Positioning (CAP) system and Station Keeping Equipment (SKE) formation operation systems designed into their aircraft.

"The radar's capability allows them to fly in formation without seeing other aircraft," Coughlin said. "With the technology on the C-130J and the added navigator to the Israeli air force C-130J crew, it is easy to stay in the confines of the designated training area."

Once in country, the clock was ticking on the training program. Not only was the goal to get the Israeli pilots' knowledge broadened on the formation system, but the team was only given 11 days to complete the training.

The first two days of training involved classroom-based instruction, led by Coughlin and the three other instructor pilots. Additionally, after every lesson, the Israeli aircrew members were given a short quiz to ensure they understood the material.

"It was very rewarding and humbling to see those guys excited to have us there," Coughlin said. "During our first day there, the squadron commander said we want to be like you."

As soon as the Israeli pilots were up to speed, the training took to the air. Flying days started with mission planning with two sets of crews.

"They did most of the planning; we were there to answer questions and provide guidance on how the mission should flow," Coughlin said.

After the briefings, two instructors flew with each of the two Israeli crews to execute the training sortie. As a standing instructor pilot on the flight deck, it was Coughlin's job to observe the flight and provide input and answer any questions they had enroute.

Coughlin explained every mission could be a combat mission, as the Israelis live and fly in a combat zone.

"Training at home station is very scripted,” Coughlin said. “We simulate threats for the student, however, we have actual airspace restrictions that we need to be cognizant of. …The most challenging aspect of briefing and flying was they tended to speak in Hebrew when things got busy."

Overall, the 11 days of training helped the Israeli aircrews to become proficient with the CAP and SKE.

"It helped us learn," Coughlin said. "Not only did we see their ability to fly SKE but also how they mission plan and brief. There was definitely learning on both ends.”