Major General Amir Eshel, commander of the Israeli Air Force, discussed the deteriorating situation in Syria and the threats directed at Israel at the 8th International Space Conference in Herzliya. “We have no idea what will happen in Syria the day after; There is a vast arsenal of state-of-the-art weaponry, and it is sitting on our borders. The challenges are complex, are changing and it isn’t getting any easier. I don’t think that divisions will invade Israel tomorrow, but the threats exist on other expanses that are constantly growing, and we rely on the accomplishments we have reached in recent years.”
Eshel continued, saying that “far-reaching changes are occurring around us – the rise of terrorism and the disintegration of countries. The scope and range of our activity grew immeasurably in the recent years. We are forced to deal with weapons of all types - of western production and local production, conventional and unconventional, on the border and in depth. Furthermore, there are threats forming all the time. We are in the midst of a daily campaign, a campaign between wars, working directly with the Mossad, Shabak and the IDF Directorate of Military Intelligence, and operating all sorts of measures.
“The IAF’s ability to reach distances and speeds is almost exclusive. We can be operated immediately, in almost every situation and every expanse. We have limitations and there are things that we cannot do, but the accomplishments of the manned and unmanned capabilities in the past few years are tremendous.”
Eshel also discussed the connection between the IAF and the space industry, adding that “the connection between the IAF and the IDF to space is strong, and it will grow stronger. The air force depends on the ability of utilizing the space medium, whether if with regards to intelligence, communication or defense. The economic reality will limit us, but we must invest more in space. We will require it significantly in the future for the purpose of active defense and greater use in communication and intelligence. We need to invest in independent launch capabilities, space networking and in many advanced sensors, as well as in communication. We must strengthen the military and civilian cooperation, join with academic institutes and industries in a better manner and we must invest in education.”