The Air Defense Command branch of the Israel Air Force held a day-long demonstration of its modern capabilities last week in the southern Negev region.
The event was a commemoration of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, during which the command, then known as the Anti-Aircraft Command, played a major role.
As the military forces of Syria and Egypt pressed their early advantage thanks to a successful surprise attack on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, the Anti-Aircraft Command managed to down 54 enemy aircraft, allowing the reeling Israeli forces time to recover and regroup for a crushing counter-offensive.
Back then, the soldiers of the Anti-Aircraft Command made due with far more simple weaponry. Today, the Air Defense Command boasts some of the most advanced anti-aircraft and anti-missile technology in the world.
On display last week were the currently-operational Iron Dome, Arrow and Patriot anti-missile systems, as well as the David's Sling system that is still undergoing testing.
The Air Defense Command has seen a major influx in recruits over the past six months, likely thanks to the enormous success of its Iron Dome crews during the last Gaza war. Many Israelis are starting to realize the central importance of a solid air defense in modern warfare, and those developing and manning Israel's ever-improving defensive systems are viewed with great respect.