"The Air Force is prepared for all-out combat within 12 hours and is capable of hitting thousands of targets a day"
"The Middle East is bustling and in constant flux - today's friend can be tomorrow's enemy. The challenges in the Middle East directly relate to the challenges of the Air Force," said Brigadier General Tal Kalman, Chief of Staff of the Air Force in his speech at the 11th International Space Conference of the Fisher Institute and the Israel Space Agency at the Ministry of Science. "We identify five major trends in the Air Force's challenges: We can see the weakening of the nation states around us. There are countries that become irrelevant from a state point of view, such as Syria, and there are countries that are currently stable but it is not clear what their stability will be in a few years. We are seeing a transition from a situation of fighting army on army to fighting terrorist organizations that are in a civilian environment and this is a first-rate military challenge.
Another challenge is Iran, whose dominance is increasing. The nuclear agreement is an excellent opportunity for them for economic recovery. This country supplies resources and weapons that reach the borders of the State of Israel. Arms deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars that take place in the countries around us feed them with weapons in Eastern and Western technologies, at a very advanced level. There is a potential here for the erosion of the IDF's strength against its enemies. Fighter planes of the most advanced models in the world are sold to countries that are in a circle very close to the State of Israel. Another challenge the Air Force faces is the international presence around us: lots of coalitions and players. The sky has become crowded on a daily basis and there is a need for cooperation, tracking and monitoring of the sky. The fifth challenge is the development of the ballistic threat to the State of Israel: both in quantity, quality and accuracy. The development of the ballistic capabilities of our enemies is the answer to the superiority of the Air Force.
The Air Force continues to be a dominant factor in the security concept of the State of Israel and provides deterrence, decisiveness and protection for the State of Israel and its interests. We keep an army ready for any event. Most of the time, the first force that arrives on the ground is air force and we are ready for all-out combat within 12 hours. On the other hand, we are busy every day with a very intense operational activity: "the campaign between the wars" - a secret daily campaign whose purpose is to postpone the next fighting.
We have increased the lethality of the Air Force to the ability to attack thousands of targets a day, anywhere and at any time.
We are building the corps from the underground medium to space. We cannot build the air force only as a response to the terrorist organizations or as a response to the arms race, but prepare in a comprehensive way for any strategic turn and for any military force that will be directed against us - of all descriptions.
In December, the first two F-35 aircraft will land, bringing with them the most advanced fifth generation capabilities in the world. The arrival of the planes will usher the Air Force into a completely new era.
From a defensive point of view, the Corps, which was offensive, took on the task of air defense and the threat to us and brought about the construction of the multi-layered defense, in cooperation with the defense industries, and they significantly offset the ballistic threat to us: arrow, magic wand, iron dome and more bring good defense capabilities Very much for the State of Israel.
In every operational activity of the Air Force today, characteristics from the field of space appear. The integration between air and space will increase: the intelligence comes in large part from space, the detection and warning capabilities come from space and provide us with the capabilities of navigation, communication, locating targets and more.
In every security issue, the Air Force tries to build maximum independence. Today's friend could be in a different situation tomorrow and it is important that the State of Israel has an independent capability and independent of international factors - both in the air and in space. Space is the strategic depth of the State of Israel. The erosion that we see in the advantage of the IDF and the Air Force compared to our enemies is reduced thanks to space.
The 2016 Air Force is stronger than ever. The operational achievements these days are achieved quietly and not over the airwaves. The arrival of the F-35s this year will strengthen us even more."