The back­bone of Is­raeli air su­pe­ri­or­ity

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - News -

Forthe past 20 years, two com­bat air­craft types – the F-15 Ea­gle and F-16 Fight­ing Fal­con – have been back­bone of the Is­rael Air & Space Force (IASF). Both the F-15 and the F-16 have been used in some ex­tremely dar­ing mis­sions, in­clud­ing the Oc­to­ber 1985 at­tack on the PLO head­quar­ters in Tu­nis, some 3,000 km west of Is­rael. How­ever, the most dan­ger­ous mis­sion took place on 7 June 1981, when eight F-16As bombed the Iraqi nu­clear re­ac­tor at Osirak near Baghdad. It is note­wor­thy that the Is­raelis had only de­clared the F-16 to at low level mainly over Saudi Ara­bian ter­ri­tory, had to be car­ried out with­out air re­fu­el­ing. The youngest pilot of the eight-ship for­ma­tion was the 27-year-old the tragic Columbia Space Shut­tle ac­ci­dent. In the dar­ing raid, named Op­er­a­tion Opera, Ramon pi­loted an F-16A ‘Netz’ num­bered 243 (pic­tured here at Ne­va­tim AB in May 2015). At the end of 2016, all re­main­ing F-16A/B ‘Netz’ out of a to­tal nine have al­ready been de­liv­ered to the IASF. The IASF con­tin­ues to op­er­ate around 120 F-16C/D, (called ‘Barak’) and some 95 F-16I ‘Sufa’, plus around 80 F-15 Ea­gles of all vari­ants.

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