The Israeli developed the Ehud autonomous air combat maneuvering instrumentation (AACMI) system that is widely used by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and some foreign air forces. The Ehud system played a major role in the recent international Blue Flag exercise held in Israel.

The largest-ever air force exercise in Israel was conducted in October with the participation of the U.S., Israel, Germany, Italy, the UK, France, India, and Greece

According to official statements, the exercise was aimed at mutual learning of fighting techniques using a mix of aircraft. But Israeli defence sources say that this time the exercise is performed with an eye on the growing influence of Iran on countries in the Middle East and Gulf area.

Retired Brigadier General Miki Bar, former IAF base commander, former Executive VP of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), and now CEO of DSRaider, says that such an exercise has a very important operational meaning to all participants. “The fact that different air forces can work closely together, the exchange of operational intelligence, and the use of a base in another country when this is needed, are the main benefits of such an exercise and, on top of that, is clearly a power show that is no less important."

IAI developed the Ehud to provide the Israeli Air Force with an innovative air combat training system that enables debriefing of flight training exercises to be completed in record time. The company’s unique ACMI-based Ehud analysis system, which provides automatic integration of data from different training systems used by different air forces, was upgraded and customized ahead of the Blue Flag 2021 exercise.

The enhanced analysis system enabled cooperative debriefing and analysis by all pilots who took part in the drills. It provided pilots with a unified battlefield display of all jets in the exercise, all airborne threats, and every tactical event that occurred during the exercise. All preplanned scenarios were input to the system’s database, enabling complete documentation or re-creation for future study.

For the exercise, the system was embedded with a display of time-critical land targets as well as display of the radiation status of systems simulating hostile air defence batteries of different kinds, including new IAI advanced systems.

In addition to supplying the system, IAI also provided field services for training and combat analysis, “Ehud”-type AACMI pods for use on the fighter jets in foreign and Israeli air forces, and ground instrumentation for mobile targets. IAI also deployed its professional training staff to accompany and operate the systems during the exercise.

“For the first time ever, we combined the creation of land target data and a simulation of air defense systems emulating existing enemy capabilities,” said Jacob Galifat, General Manager of the IAI/MALAM Division. “This was the fifth exercise in which IAI provided training and analysis services to the Israel Air Force. This system’s capabilities in multinational training enables our clients to obtain critical tactical information for their fighter pilots and battle management systems in different types of defense forces. Over the years, we have developed the ‘Ehud’ system as a multidimensional platform providing real operational situational assessment for the benefit of the IAF’s training capabilities and foreign allies that participated in the exercise.”

Globally, more than 1,000 “Ehud” training pods have been supplied, as well as hundreds of analysis systems delivered to a large number of customers.

Arie Egozi is a defence writer and analyst based in Israel.