More and more of Israel’s Air Force missions utilize UAVs. However, the responsibility does not rest solely on UAV operators. They work in conjunction with Israel’s Beechcraft King Air B200 with clear operational procedures which enable the completion of very complicated missions.
“Part of the intelligence missions we perform on a daily basis have already been shifted to the unmanned platforms, but the success of many is based on the speed in which the sensors can reach an area of interest,” a senior air force officer told publication Flightglobal.
Proper procedure is key; oftentimes the UAV/B200 combo flies operations over hostile territory. An example was the “Protective Edge” missions where the aircraft flew intelligence gathering operations over the Gaza Strip in mid-2014. The aircraft worked in conjunction with fighter jets and helicopters to suppress the launch of rockets into Israeli territory.
The UAV operators work with air reconnaissance controllers who fly onboard the King Airs. With a high level of cooperation, the combo achieves the shortest sensor-to-shooter time in missions aimed at assisting aerial attacks.
“This (sensor-to-shooter time) is a key factor that will leave the B200 in service for the foreseeable future,” noted the officer.