June 29, 2009: Israeli Air Force commanders are providing more realistic training for pilots encountering surface-to-air missiles. They are doing this by using a new generation of flight simulators. This will give pilots a more accurate sense of what these missiles can do, and how countermeasures and maneuvers can save your ass. The threat is growing, as these missiles are showing up in the arsenals of Hamas and Hezbollah. Moreover, Syria and Iran have access to longer range TOR-M1 missiles.
Currently, pilots are given training in the air, where missile launches are simulated. During their current "in-the-air" training, pilots don't really get a sense of how the missiles operate, and this can be fatal in combat. Thus Israel is buying eight F-16 simulators, which are equipped with software that realistically depicts how the missiles work. Thus pilots will quickly learn how well prepared they are to avoid getting shot down.
Israel already has four simulators, one each for the F-16, F-16I, F15 and F-15I. These can be used for the missile scenarios, but the air force wants to provide lots of this training for their F-16 pilots, who are most likely to be fired on by the missiles. It's expected that a lot of pilots will get shot down the first few times they get fired on by a simulator missile. But fighter pilots are quick learners, and commanders also expect pilots to come up with some new moves for avoiding getting hit.