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The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
(IAF; Hebrew: זְרוֹעַ הָאֲוִיר וְהֶחָלָל‬, Zroa HaAvir VeHahalal, "Air and Space Arm", commonly known as חֵיל הָאֲוִיר‬, Kheil HaAvir, "Air Corps") operates as the aerial warfare branch of the Israel
Israel
Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. As of August 2017[update] Aluf Amikam Norkin serves as the Air Force Commander. The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
was established on May 28, 1948, using commandeered or donated civilian aircraft and obsolete and surplus World War II
World War II
combat aircraft. Eventually, more aircraft were procured, including Boeing B-17s, Bristol Beaufighters, de Havilland Mosquitoes and P-51D Mustangs. The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
played an important part in Operation Kadesh, Israel's part in the 1956 Suez Crisis, dropping paratroopers at the Mitla Pass. On June 5, 1967, the first day of the Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
performed Operation Focus, debilitating the opposing Arab air forces and attaining air supremacy for the remainder of the war. Shortly after the end of the Six-Day War, Egypt
Egypt
initiated the War of Attrition, and the Israeli Air Force performed repeated bombings of strategic targets deep within enemy territory. When the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
broke out on October 6, 1973, Egyptian and Syrian advances forced the IAF to abandon detailed plans for the destruction of enemy air defences. Forced to operate under the missile and anti-aircraft artillery threats, the close air support it provided allowed Israeli troops on the ground to stem the tide and eventually go on the offensive. Since that war most of Israel's military aircraft have been obtained from the United States. Among these are the F-4 Phantom II, A-4 Skyhawk, F-15 Eagle
F-15 Eagle
and F-16
F-16
Fighting Falcon. The Israeli Air Force has also operated a number of domestically produced types such as the IAI Nesher, and later, the more advanced IAI Kfir. On June 7, 1981, eight IAF F-16A fighters covered by six F-15A jets carried out Operation Opera to destroy the Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osiraq. On June 9, 1982, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
carried out Operation Mole Cricket 19, crippling the Syrian air defence array. The IAF continued to mount attacks on Hezbollah
Hezbollah
and PLO
PLO
positions in south Lebanon. On October 1, 1985, In response to a PLO
PLO
terrorist attack which murdered three Israeli civilians in Cyprus, the Israeli air force carried out Operation Wooden Leg. The strike involved the bombing of PLO Headquarters in Tunis, by F-15 Eagles. In 1991, the IAF carried out Operation Solomon
Operation Solomon
which brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1993 and 1996, the IAF participated in Operation Accountability and Operation Grapes of Wrath, respectively. It took part in many missions since, including during the 2006 Lebanon
Lebanon
War, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Protective Edge. On September 6, 2007, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
successfully bombed an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor in Operation Orchard.[2]

Contents

1 Mission statement 2 Insignia 3 History

3.1 Early years (1948–1967) 3.2 Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
(1956) 3.3 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
(1967) 3.4 War of Attrition 3.5 Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
(1973) 3.6 Expansion (1973–1982) 3.7 1982 Lebanon
Lebanon
War and aftermath 3.8 1990s and beyond 3.9 2006 Lebanon
Lebanon
War 3.10 2007 Operation Orchard 3.11 Against Hamas 3.12 Incidents during the Syrian Civil War

4 Organization

4.1 Administrative organization 4.2 Operational organization

5 Aircraft

5.1 Current inventory 5.2 Future 5.3 Historic 5.4 Munitions and space systems

6 Pilot selection and training

6.1 Ranks

6.1.1 Officers 6.1.2 Enlisted

7 List of IAF commanders 8 See also 9 References

9.1 Citations 9.2 Bibliography

10 Further reading 11 External links

Mission statement[edit]

The F-35I Adir (accompanied by a Negev Squadron F-16I
F-16I
Sufa) with the Israeli Air Force, December 2016

The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
states the following as its functions:[3]

To protect the State of Israel
Israel
from aerial attack and to defend the IDF's zone of operations To achieve air supremacy throughout the IDF's zone of operation To participate in the fighting on both ground and sea To hit targets deep in enemy territory To create the aerial intelligence picture and participate in the creation of the general intelligence picture and its assessment To transport troops, equipment and weapons systems To carry out search, rescue and aerial evacuation missions To execute special operations To continually build and improve itself, as part of the general plan for improving the IDF and in accordance with the authority vested in it

Insignia[edit] The insignia/roundel of the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
consists of a blue Star of David on a white circle. Aircraft usually carry it painted in six positions – on the top and bottom of each wing, and on each side of the fuselage. A low-visibility variant – a blue Star of David without the white circle - also exists, although its use is extremely rare. Squadron markings usually go on the tail fin. History[edit] Main article: History of the Israeli Air Force Early years (1948–1967)[edit]

Avia S-199

Forerunners of the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
were the Palestine Flying Service established by the Irgun
Irgun
in 1937, and Sherut Avir, the air wing of the Haganah.[4] The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
formed on May 28, 1948, shortly after Israel
Israel
declared statehood and found itself under attack. The force consisted of a hodge-podge of commandeered or donated civilian aircraft converted to military use. A variety of obsolete and surplus ex- World War II
World War II
combat-aircraft were quickly sourced by various means to supplement this fleet. The backbone of the IAF consisted of 25 Avia S-199s (purchased from Czechoslovakia, essentially Czechoslovak-built Messerschmitt Bf 109s), and 60 Supermarine Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
LF Mk IXEs, the first of which, " Israel
Israel
1" was locally assembled from British abandoned spare parts and a salvaged engine from an Egyptian spitfire with most of the rest purchased from Czechoslovakia.[5] Creativity and resourcefulness were the foundations of early Israeli military success in the air, rather than technology (which, at the inception of the IAF, was generally inferior to that used by Israel's adversaries). The majority, 15 out of the first 18 pilots in 101 Squadron (Israel), of the IAF's first military-grade pilots in 1948 were foreign volunteers (both Jewish and non-Jewish), mainly World War II
World War II
veterans who wanted to collaborate with Israel's struggle for independence, with the rest of the military-grade pilots being Israeli WWII veterans, whereas pilots from Sherut Avir
Sherut Avir
were mainly locals who flew light civilian aircraft for supply, reconnaissance, and makeshift ground attack with hand-thrown light bombs and hand fired light machine guns. Israel's new fighter-arm first went into action on May 29, 1948, assisting efforts to halt the Egyptian advance from Gaza northwards. Four newly arrived Avia S-199s, flown by Lou Lenart, Modi Alon, Ezer Weizman and Eddie Cohen, struck Egyptian forces near Ashdod. Although damage to the enemy was minimal, two aircraft were lost and Cohen killed, nevertheless the attack achieved its goal and stopped the Egyptians.

an Israeli pilots passport page who flew to Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
to bring back to Israel
Israel
the Avia S-199.

After un-assembled planes were strafed on the ground on May 30 at Ekron airfield the fighters were moved to makeshift strip located around the current Herzliya Airport. The airfield was used as it was a bit back from the front-lines, and was clandestine since it was a purpose built strip, that was constructed after the beginning of hostilities, in between the orange orchards around Herzliya, and did not appear on published maps. The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
scored its first aerial victories on June 3 when Modi Alon, flying Avia D.112, shot down two Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
DC-3s which had just bombed Tel Aviv. The first dogfight against enemy fighters took place a few days later, on June 8, when Gideon Lichtaman shot down an Egyptian Spitfire.[6] During these initial operations, the squadron operated with a few planes versus almost complete Arab theater Air supremacy
Air supremacy
and the airplanes were parked dispersed between the orange trees. The fighters were moved in October to Hatzor Airbase from the Herzliya strip in due to its unsuitability in rainy conditions, probable loss of clandestine status, moving front lines which made former British bases safe for use, and a shift in the balance of air superiority towards the Israelis.[7][8][9] As the war progressed Israel
Israel
procured more and more aircraft, including Boeing B-17s, Bristol Beaufighters, de Havilland Mosquitoes and P-51D Mustangs, leading to a shift in the balance of power.

Gloster Meteor

Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
(1956)[edit] The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
played an important part in Operation Kadesh, Israel's part in the 1956 Suez Crisis. At the launch of the operation, on October 29, Israeli P-51D Mustangs, some using their propellor blades, severed telephone lines in the Sinai,[10] while 16 IAF DC-3s – escorted by fighters – dropped Israeli paratroopers behind Egyptian lines at the Mitla Pass and Et-Tur. The Israeli Air Force also conducted attacks on Egyptian ground units and assisted the Israeli Navy
Israeli Navy
in capturing the Egyptian Navy destroyer Ibrahim el Awal, which had bombarded the Israeli city of Haifa
Haifa
– an airstrike damaged the Egyptian ship's engines, enabling Israeli ships to reach it and capture it. Six-Day War
Six-Day War
(1967)[edit] In three hours on the morning of June 5, 1967, the first day of the Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
executed Operation Focus, crippling the opposing Arab air forces and attaining air supremacy for the remainder of the war. In a surprise attack, the IAF destroyed most of the Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
while its planes were still on the ground. By the end of the day, with surrounding Arab countries also drawn into the fighting, the IAF had mauled the Syrian and Jordanian air forces as well, striking as far as Iraq. After six days of fighting Israel claimed a total of 452 Arab aircraft destroyed, of which 49 were aerial victories. After the IAF's impressive performance in the Six-Day War, the Lyndon Johnson administration decided to sell F-4 Phantom fighters to Israel in 1968, marking the first sale of American military equipment to Israel.[11]

Mirage IIIC
Mirage IIIC
at the Israeli Air Force Museum
Israeli Air Force Museum
in Hatzerim. A veteran of fighting during the 1960s and 1970s, the aircraft bears 13 victory markings

War of Attrition[edit] Shortly after the end of the Six-Day War, Egypt
Egypt
initiated the War of Attrition, hoping to prevent Israel
Israel
from consolidating its hold over the lands captured in 1967. Israel's goal in the fighting was to exact heavy losses on the opposing side, in order to facilitate a ceasefire. The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
consequently undertook repeated bombings of strategic targets deep within enemy territory and repeatedly challenged Arab air forces for aerial supremacy, all the while supporting operations by Israel's ground and naval forces. In late 1969 the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
began to deploy fighter aircraft units and surface-to-air missile units to Egypt. The Soviet surface-to-air missile units soon joined their Egyptian allies in direct confrontations with Israeli aircraft. Soviet fighters conducted patrols but Israeli pilots were ordered not to engage them. However, on July 30, 1970, the tension peaked: An IAF ambush resulted in a large scale air brawl between IAF planes and MiGs flown by Soviet pilots—five MiGs were shot down, while the IAF suffered no losses. Fear of further escalation and superpower involvement brought the war to a conclusion. By the end of August 1970, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
had claimed 111 aerial kills while reporting losing only four aircraft to Arab fighters. Egyptian and Soviet forces claimed to shoot down approximately 20 Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
planes with surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery units. Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
(1973)[edit]

A-4N Skyhawk

On October 6, 1973, with war imminent, the IAF began preparing for a pre-emptive strike against Egyptian and Syrian airfields and anti-aircraft positions. The Israeli government, however, decided against pre-emption.[12] IAF aircraft were therefore in the process of re-armament to the air-to-air role when Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
hostilities began at 14:00.[13] The next morning begun with Operation Tagar, a SEAD offensive against Egyptian air defences, beginning with strikes against Egyptian air bases. Tagar, however, was quickly discontinued when the dire situation on the Golan Heights
Golan Heights
became apparent. IAF efforts were redirected north, where the ill-fated Operation Doogman 5 was carried out. Flying with outdated intelligence and no electronic screening against mobile SAM batteries and heavy flak, 6 IAF Phantoms were lost.[14] The sustained campaign required to defeat enemy air defences was abandoned in the face of Egyptian and Syrian advances and the IAF was forced to operate under the SAM threat. Nevertheless, the close air support it provided allowed Israeli troops on the ground to stem the tide and eventually go on the offensive, first in the north and later in the south.[15][16] After the failure of the Israeli counter-offensive in the Sinai
Sinai
on October 8, the southern front remained relatively static and the IAF focused its attention on the Syrian front.[16] While A-4 Skyhawks provided much needed support to troops on the ground, at the cost of 31 aircraft by the end of fourth day of the war,[17] IAF Phantoms repeatedly struck Syrian air fields.[18] Following Syrian FROG-7 strikes on military and civilian targets in northern Israel, the IAF also initiated a campaign to destroy the infrastructure on which Syria's war-making capacity depended, targeting strategic targets in Syria such as its oil industry and electricity generating system.[19] By October 13 the Syrians had been pushed back and beyond their initial lines, Damascus had come within range of Israeli artillery and an Iraqi armored brigade, the vanguard of its expeditionary force, was destroyed.[20]

201 Squadron IAF F-4E Phantom II with 3 kill markings

On October 14 the Egyptian army launched an offensive along the entire front, but was repulsed by the IDF. Israel
Israel
followed on this success by attacking at the seam between the 2nd and 3rd Egyptian armies and crossing the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
into Egypt. Israeli forces fanned north and south, destroying Egyptian rear units and punching holes through its air defence array. This allowed the IAF the freedom of action it was previously denied and renewed attacks led to the collapse of the Egyptian Air Defence Force. This prompted increased diplomatic activity to resolve the war, coupled with increased activity by the Egyptian Air Force. From about October 18 to the end of the war, intensive air battles took place between Israeli and Egyptian aircraft.[16][21] Official Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
losses of the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
number at 102 aircraft, including 32 F-4 Phantoms, 53 A-4 Skyhawks, 11 Dassault Mirages, and 6 IAI Sa'ars, although other accounts suggest as many as 128 Israeli aircraft were lost.[22][23] 91 air force personnel, of which 53 were airmen, were killed. 172 Egyptian aircraft were shot down in air-to-air combat, for a loss of between 5 and 21 for the Israelis (on all fronts).[23][24] No official numbers were released on the Arab side, though total Egyptian losses were between 235 and 242 aircraft, while Syria lost between 135 and 179.[23][25] Expansion (1973–1982)[edit] Since the war most of Israel's military aircraft have been obtained from the United States. Among these are the F-4 Phantom II, A-4 Skyhawk, F-15 Eagle
F-15 Eagle
and F-16
F-16
Fighting Falcon. The Israeli Air Force has also operated a number of domestically produced types such as the IAI Nesher, and later, the more advanced IAI Kfir, which were derivatives of the French Dassault Mirage 5. The Kfir was adapted to utilize a more powerful U.S. engine, produced under license in Israel. On July 4, 1976, four Israeli C-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
transport aircraft secretly flew to Entebbe Airport for a rescue operation. In March 1978, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
participated in Operation Litani. On June 7, 1981, eight IAF F-16A fighters covered by six F-15A jets carried out Operation Opera to destroy the Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osiraq. Among the pilots who took part in the attack was Ilan Ramon, later Israel's first astronaut. 1982 Lebanon
Lebanon
War and aftermath[edit]

An F-16A Netz 107 with 7.5 kills including one for Operation Opera

Prior to the 1982 Lebanon
Lebanon
War, Syria, with the help of the Soviet Union, had built up an overlapping network of surface-to-air missiles in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. On June 9, 1982, the Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Mole Cricket 19, crippling the Syrian air defence array. In subsequent aerial battles against the Syrian Air Force, the IAF managed to shoot down 86 Syrian aircraft without losing a single fighter plane in an air-to-air combat. IAF AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships destroyed dozens of Syrian armored fighting vehicles and other ground targets, including some T-72
T-72
main battle tanks. For many years after the war's official end, and throughout Israeli presence in Lebanon, the IAF continued to mount attacks on Hezbollah and PLO
PLO
positions in south Lebanon. On October 1, 1985, In response to a PLO
PLO
terrorist attack which murdered three Israeli civilians in Cyprus, the Israeli air force carried out Operation Wooden Leg. The strike involved the bombing of PLO
PLO
Headquarters in Tunis, by F-15 Eagles. This was the longest combat mission ever undertaken by the IAF, a stretch of 2,300 kilometers, involving in-flight refueling by an IAF Boeing 707. As a result, PLO
PLO
headquarters and barracks were either destroyed or damaged. 1990s and beyond[edit] Many of the IAF's electronics and weapons systems are developed and built in Israel
Israel
by Israel
Israel
Military Industries, Israel
Israel
Aerospace Industries, Elbit, and others. Since the 1990s, the IAF has upgraded most of its aircraft with advanced Israeli-made systems, improving their performances. In 1990 the IAF began receiving the AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship and started equipping its aircraft with the Rafael Python 4, Popeye, and Derby missiles. During the first Gulf War
Gulf War
of 1991, Israel
Israel
was attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles. Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
pilots were on constant stand-by in their cockpits throughout the conflict, ready to fly to Iraq
Iraq
to retaliate. Diplomatic pressure as well as denial of IFF transponder codes from the United States, however, kept the IAF grounded while Coalition air assets and Patriot missile batteries supplied by the US and the Netherlands
Netherlands
sought to deal with the Scuds. In 1991, the IAF carried out Operation Solomon
Operation Solomon
which brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1993 and 1996, the IAF participated in Operation Accountability and Operation Grapes of Wrath, respectively.

69 Squadron F-15I
F-15I
Ra'ams at Red Flag 04-3

In the late 1990s, the IAF began acquiring the F-15I
F-15I
Ra'am (Thunder) and the F-16I
F-16I
Sufa (Storm), manufactured specially for Israel according to IAF requirements. The first of 102 F-16I
F-16I
Sufas arrived in April 2004 joining an F-16
F-16
fleet that had already been the largest outside the US Air Force. The IAF also purchased the advanced Israeli air-to-air missile Rafael Python 5, with full-sphere capability, as well as a special version of the Apache Longbow, designated AH-64DI or Saraph. In 2005 the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
received modified Gulfstream V jets ("Nachshon"), equipped with advanced intelligence systems made by Israel
Israel
Military Industries. By 2013 Israel
Israel
became the world's largest exporter of drones.[26] The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
took an extensive part in IDF operations during the al-Aqsa Intifada, including the controversial targeted killings of Palestinian terrorist leaders, most notably Salah Shakhade, Ahmed Yassin and Abed al-Aziz Rantissi. While this policy was criticized due to the collateral damage caused in certain instances, Israel
Israel
claims it is vital in its fight against terrorism and that IAF pilots do whatever they can to avoid civilian casualties, including aborting strikes. In 2007, Israel
Israel
achieved a civilian casualty ratio of 1:30, or one civilian casualty for every thirty combatant casualties, in its airstrikes on militants in the Palestinian territories.[27] Alan Dershowitz noted that "No army in history has ever had a better ratio of combatants to civilians killed in a comparable setting".[28] On October 5, 2003, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
attacked an alleged Palestinian militant training camp in Ain es Saheb, Syria. A reaction to an earlier suicide bombing in Haifa, this was the first overt Israeli military operation in Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. 2006 Lebanon
Lebanon
War[edit] The IAF played a critical role in the 2006 Lebanon
Lebanon
War. IAF strikes—mainly, though not exclusively, in southern Lebanon—were aimed at stopping rocket launches by Hezbollah's militia targeting Israeli towns. The IAF flew more than 12,000 combat missions during this war. The most notable, taking place during the second day of the war, resulted in the IAF destroying 59 Iranian-supplied medium- and long-range missile launchers in just 34 minutes.[29] Widespread condemnation followed the July 30 IAF airstrike on a building suspected to be a militant hideout near the village of Qana, in which 28 civilians were killed. Hezbollah
Hezbollah
shot down an IAF CH-53 Yas'ur helicopter on the last day of the war, killing five crew members.[30][31] Israeli aircraft also shot down three of Hezbollah's Iranian-made[32] aerial drones during the conflict.[33] 2007 Operation Orchard[edit] In the 2007 Operation Orchard, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
attacked a suspected Syrian nuclear weapons site.[2] The IAF used electronic warfare (EW) system to take neutralize Syria's air defenses,[34] feeding them a false sky-picture while IAF jets crossed much of Syria, bombed their targets and returned to Israel
Israel
unchallenged.[35] Against Hamas[edit] Since Hamas' takeover of Gaza in 2007, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
has taken part in repeated bouts of violence between Israel
Israel
and the Hamas-held Gaza Strip. In December 2008, the IAF spearheaded Operation Cast Lead, carrying out more than 2,360 air strikes. It had a principal role in destroying Hamas
Hamas
targets, and killed several senior Hamas
Hamas
commanders, including Said Seyam,[36] Nizar Rayan,[37] Tawfik Jaber,[38] and Abu Zakaria al-Jamal.[39] According to a CBS news report, in January 2009 Israeli planes struck a convoy of trucks in Sudan headed for Egypt
Egypt
and carrying weapons apparently meant for the Gaza Strip. Seventeen trucks were bombed and thirty-nine smugglers were killed in the strike.[40] On April 5, 2011, a car driving from Port Sudan Airport
Port Sudan Airport
to Port Sudan
Port Sudan
was destroyed by a missile. Both passengers were killed. one of whom may have been a senior Hamas
Hamas
military commander. The Sudanese Foreign Minister blamed the attack on Israel.[41] Sudanese newspapers reported that Israeli aircraft attacked Gaza-bound arms convoys again in late 2011.[42] On October 24, 2012, Sudan claimed that Israel
Israel
had bombed a munitions factory south of Khartoum.[43][44][45] The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
also operates surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery units. Since 1990 their primary role has been the interception of surface-to-surface missiles and rockets fired into Israel. In 2011 the IAF began operating the 'Iron Dome' anti-rocket missile system, which within a year had successfully intercepted and destroyed 93 rockets fired at Israeli towns from Gaza.[46] In November 2012, the IAF participated in Operation Pillar of Defense, during which, according to the IDF Spokesperson, Israeli forces targeted more than 1,500 military sites in Gaza Strip, including rocket launching pads, smuggling tunnels, command centers, and weapons manufacturing and storage facilities. Many of these attacks were carried out by the Air Force.[47] Between July 8 and August 5, 2014, the IAF participated in Operation Protective Edge, during which, according to the IDF Spokesperson, Israeli forces targeted 4,762 terror sites across the Gaza Strip, including rocket launching sites, command and control centers, military administration facilities, weapons storage and manufacturing facilities and training and military compounds.[48] Incidents during the Syrian Civil War[edit] See also: Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents during the Syrian Civil War and History of the Israeli Air Force The civil war raging within Israel's northern neighbor, has occasionally witnessed activity by the IAF, some overt, some unacknowledged and some merely attributed. Notable actions include:

The downing of a Syrian Air Force
Syrian Air Force
Sukhoi Su-24
Sukhoi Su-24
on 23 September 2014: The aircraft was shot down by an IAF MIM-104 Patriot
MIM-104 Patriot
air defense battery, after allegedly crossing the Syrian-Israeli ceasefire line during a ground attack mission against Syrian opposition forces.[49] On 20 and 21 August 2015, after four rockets hit the Golan Heights
Golan Heights
and Upper Galilee, Israel
Israel
launched airstrikes in Syria, killing several militants.[50] The March 2017 Israeli airstrikes in Syria: On March 17, 2017, Israeli jet fighters attacked targets in Syria. Several S-200 missiles were fired at the jets, and one missile was shot down by an Arrow 2 missile; no aircraft were damaged.[51][52][53][54] The incident was the first clearly confirmed Israeli strike on Syrian territory during the Syrian Civil War.[55] On 10 February 2018, an Israeli AH-64 shot down an Iranian drone that entered Israel. 4 Israeli F-16's launched a strike into Syria while remaining in Israeli airspace, reportedly to strike Iranian drone control facilities, conducting a cross-border raid. One of the F-16s was shot down by Syrian surface to air missiles and crashed in northern Israel, the first Israeli jet to be shot down in combat since 1982. Both pilots managed to eject in Israeli territory. The pilots were injured, but walked out of hospital around a week later.[56] Israel
Israel
subsequently attacked Syrian air defenses and Iranian targets.[57][58]

Organization[edit] See also: List of Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
aircraft squadrons

Order of Battle

Administrative organization[edit]

Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
air bases

Chief of Air Staff Group Fixed Wing Group Helicopter
Helicopter
Group Intelligence Group Equipment Group Manpower Group Chief Medical Officer Unit Control Group Air Special
Special
Forces Group

Shaldag – air force special operations unit Unit 669
Unit 669
– medevac extraction unit

Air Defense Command

Northern Air Defense Regiment Central Air Defense Regiment Southern Air Defense Regiment (including Air Defense School)

Operational organization[edit]

UH-60 Blackhawk
UH-60 Blackhawk
landing in the desert

IAF Boeing 707
Boeing 707
refueling F-15s

An M-346 'Lavi' in IAF service.

IAF Heron-TP 'Eitan' UAV

Ramat David Airbase
Ramat David Airbase
(Wing 1)

109 "Valley" Squadron 117 "First Jet" Squadron 193 "Defenders of the West" Squadron

Sdot Micha Airbase (Wing 2)

150 Squadron 199 Squadron 248 Squadron

Hatzor Airbase (Wing 4)

101 "First Combat" Squadron 105 "Scorpion" Squadron

Hatzerim Airbase
Hatzerim Airbase
(Air Force Base 6)

69 "Hammers" Squadron 102 "Flying Tiger" Squadron IAF Aerobatic Team 107 "Knights of the Orange Tail" Squadron Air Force Infantry School

Tel Nof Airbase
Tel Nof Airbase
(Air Force Base 8)

106 "Spearhead" Squadron 114 "Night Leaders" Squadron 118 "Night Riders" Squadron 133 "Knight of the Twin Tail" Squadron 210 "White Eagle" Squadron[59] 601 Squadron (Flight Test Center) Unit 555 "Sky Crows" (electronic warfare unit)[60]

Ovda Airbase (Air Force Base 10)

115 "Flying Dragon" Squadron Aviation Professions School Air Force Officers School

Sde Dov Airbase (Wing 15)

100 "Flying Camel" Squadron 135 "Kings of the Air" Squadron

Haifa
Haifa
Airbase (Air Force Base 21)

Technical Professions School IAF Technological College

Ramon Airbase
Ramon Airbase
(Wing 25)

113 "Hornet" Squadron 119 "Bat" Squadron 190 "Magic Touch" Squadron 201 "The One" Squadron 253 "Negev" Squadron

Nevatim Airbase (Air Force Base 28)

103 "Elephants" Squadron 120 "Desert Giants" Squadron 122 "Nahshon" Squadron 131 "Knights of the Yellow Bird" Squadron 140 "Golden Eagle" Squadron

Palmachim Airbase
Palmachim Airbase
(Air Force Base 30)

123 "Desert Birds" Squadron 124 "Rolling Sword" Squadron 151 Squadron (Missile Testing Squadron) 161 "Black Snake" Squadron 166 "Spark" Squadron 200 "First UAV" Squadron

Aircraft[edit] Current inventory[edit]

A F-16I
F-16I
"Sufa" in flight

The Israeli AH-64D "Saraph"

The F-35I "Adir’s” first flight in Israel

An Israeli UH-60 Yanshuf

A C-130J Shimshon during Israel's 68th Independence Day

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes

Combat Aircraft

F-15 Eagle United States multirole[61] F-15 A/B/C/D 16 / 6 / 17 / 19[62] Baz-2000 refit

F-15E Strike Eagle United States strike fighter F-15I 25[63]

F-16
F-16
Fighting Falcon United States multirole F-16C/D/I 78 / 48 / 97[64] F-16C/D were upgraded to "Barak 2020"[65]

F-35 Lightning II United States multirole F-35I 9[66] 50 on order[67]

AEW&C

Boeing 707 United States AEW&C

1[63]

Gulfstream G550 United States AEW&C CAEW 2[63] equipped with the IAI EL/W-2085
IAI EL/W-2085
radar[68]

Reconnaissance

Super King Air United States SIGINT / ELINT B200 6[64]

Gulfstream G550 United States SIGINT / surveillance SEMA 3[64] equipped with the IAI EL/I-3001 suite[69]

Tanker

Boeing 707 United States aerial refueling

9[63]

KC-130 Hercules United States aerial refueling KC-130H 4[63]

Transport

Super King Air United States utility / transport B200 22[64]

Beechcraft Bonanza United States utility A-36 22[64]

C-130 Hercules United States transport / SAR C-130E/H 5 / 6[64]

C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlift C-130J-30 6[63] 1 on order[70]

Helicopter

Bell 206 United States utility / trainer

5[63]

AH-64 Apache United States attack AH-64A/D 26 / 22[63]

Sikorsky UH-60 United States utility UH-60A/L 48[63]

Sikorsky SH-60 United States ASW SH-60F

8 on order[71]

Sikorsky CH-53 United States heavy lift S-65C-3 23[63] CH-53 were upgraded to Yas'ur-2025[72]

Eurocopter AS565 France SAR

5[63] operated for the Israeli Navy

Trainer aircraft

M-346 Lavi Italy advanced trainer

30[63]

T-6 Texan II United States intermediate trainer T-6A 20[63]

Grob G 120 Germany basic trainer G 120A 17[63]

UAV

IAI Eitan Israel surveillance Heron-TP ()[64] MALE

IAI Heron Israel surveillance Heron-1 ()[64] MALE

Hermes 900 Israel surveillance

()[64] MALE

Hermes 450 Israel surveillance

()[64] Tactical UAV

Future[edit] Future programs could potentially include the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus,[73] CH-53K King Stallion, Boeing CH-47 Chinook, AW119 Koala, Eurocopter AS350, and Bell 407
Bell 407
helicopter[74][75] Historic[edit] Main article: List of aircraft of the Israeli Air Force Munitions and space systems[edit] Main article: List of munitions used by the Israeli Air Force Pilot selection and training[edit]

IAF Pilots sit atop an F-16D Barak

Main article: Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
flight academy Thirty nine Israeli pilots have been credited with ace status, having shot down at least 5 enemy aircraft. Of these, 10 have shot down at least eight jet planes. The top ranking Israeli ace is Colonel Giora Epstein, who shot down seventeen enemy planes. Epstein holds the world record for jet aircraft shot down, and the most aircraft of any type shot down since the Korean War. Although women had served as pilots during the Israeli War of Independence and a few years thereafter, the Israel
Israel
Defence Forces had until 1995 denied women the opportunity to become pilots. In 1995, civilian pilot and aeronautical engineer Alice Miller successfully petitioned the Israel
Israel
High Court of Justice to take the Israeli Air Force pilot training exams, after being rejected on grounds of gender. Though president Ezer Weizman, a former IAF commander, told Miller that she'd be better off staying home and darning socks, the court in 1996 eventually ruled that the IAF could not exclude qualified women from pilot training. Even though Miller would not pass the exams, the ruling was a watershed, opening doors for women in new IDF roles. After the prohibition had been lifted, the first female graduate was F-16
F-16
navigator "Shari" in 1998, followed three years later by Roni Zuckerman, the first female jet fighter pilot in IAF history.[76][77] Ranks[edit] IAF ranks are identical to other Israel
Israel
Defense Forces ranks except for the use of silver against a dark blue background. The service's most senior-ranking active officer is the air force commander, which is the billet of a major general (aluf), and reports directly to the IDF Chief of Staff. Officers[edit]

Equivalent NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) & Student officer

Israel (Edit) No equivalent

Unknown

Rav aluf Lieutenant General Aluf Major General Tat aluf Brigadier General Aluf mishne Colonel Sgan aluf Lieutenant-Colonel Rav seren Chief Captain / Major Seren Captain / Captain Segen Lieutenant Segen mishne 2nd Lieutenant

 U.S. General of the Air Force General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Candidate Officer Cadet

Enlisted[edit]

Equivalent NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Israel (Edit)

No equivalent No insignia No equivalent

Chief warrant officer (רב-נגד (רנ"ג Warrant officer (רב-נגד משנה (רנ"מ Command Sergeant
Sergeant
Major (רב-סמל בכיר (רס"ב Sergeant
Sergeant
Major (רב-סמל מתקדם (רס"מ Master Sergeant (רב-סמל ראשון (רס"ר Sergeant
Sergeant
First Class (רב-סמל (רס"ל Staff Sergeant (סמל ראשון (סמ"ר Sergeant סמל Corporal (רב טוראי (רב"ט Private טוראי

List of IAF commanders[edit]

Amikam Norkin, the current IAF commander

Yisrael Amir (May 1948 – July 1948) Aharon Remez
Aharon Remez
(July 1948 – December 1950) Shlomo Shamir
Shlomo Shamir
(December 1950 – August 1951) Haim Laskov
Haim Laskov
(August 1951 – May 1953) Dan Tolkovsky
Dan Tolkovsky
(May 1953 – July 1958) Ezer Weizman
Ezer Weizman
(July 1958 – April 1966) Mordechai Hod
Mordechai Hod
(April 1966 – May 1973) Binyamin Peled (May 1973 – October 1977) David Ivri
David Ivri
(October 1977 – December 1982) Amos Lapidot
Amos Lapidot
(December 1982 – September 1987) Avihu Ben-Nun (September 1987 – January 1992) Herzl Bodinger
Herzl Bodinger
(January 1992 – July 1996) Eitan Ben Eliyahu
Eitan Ben Eliyahu
(July 1996 – April 2000) Dan Halutz
Dan Halutz
(April 2000 – April 2004) Elyezer Shkedy (April 2004 – May 2008) Ido Nehoshtan
Ido Nehoshtan
(May 2008 – May 2012) Amir Eshel
Amir Eshel
(May 2012 – August 2017) Amikam Norkin
Amikam Norkin
(August 2017 – present)

See also[edit]

Israeli Air Defense Command Lists of flying aces in Arab–Israeli wars Nuclear weapons and Israel Post– World War II
World War II
air-to-air combat losses Talpiot program

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ "Flightglobal – World Air Forces 2015" (PDF). Flightglobal.com.  ^ a b Mahnaimi, Uzi (2007-09-16). "Israelis 'blew apart Syrian nuclear cache'". The Sunday Times. London, UK. Retrieved July 13, 2008.  ^ "Mission Statement". About the IAF. Israeli Air Force. Retrieved October 12, 2011.  ^ The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
(IAF) in the War of Independence, IL: Machal . ^ "אתר חיל-האוויר : השחור החדש". www.iaf.org.il.  ^ "Aces". Safarikovi. Retrieved September 8, 2011.  ^ Boring, War Is (August 15, 2016). "How Nazi Fighter Planes Saved Israel".  ^ "שדה הרצליה – ימים ראשונים/תא"ל (מיל') ד"ר דני אשר". www.aopa.org.il.  ^ Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center: The base that made history, Walla!, 2003-05-08 Archived March 15, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Norton 2004, p. 125. ^ Mitchell G. Bard. "The 1968 Sale of Phantom Jets to Israel". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved February 24, 2014.  ^ Norton 2004, p. 36. ^ Aloni & Avidror 2010, p. 130. ^ Aloni & Avidror 2010, pp. 130–34. ^ Norton 2004, pp. 38–39. ^ a b c Aloni 2001, pp. 83–87. ^ Aloni 2009, p. 48. ^ Aloni 2004, pp. 37–45. ^ Aloni 2004, p. 41. ^ Aloni 2004, p. 44. ^ Aloni 2004, p. 68. ^ Nordeen 1990, p. 146. ^ a b c Norton 2004, p. 40. ^ Dunstan 2003, p. 39. ^ Franken & Van Der Avoort 2012. ^ Cohen, Gili (19 May 2013). " Israel
Israel
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Israel
studies CH-53 shoot-down". Flight global. Retrieved August 12, 2011.  ^ Schiff, Ze'ev; Stern, Yoav (November 10, 2004). "Report: Iran
Iran
admits to supplying Hezbollah
Hezbollah
with drones". Haaretz. IL. Retrieved September 8, 2011.  ^ "Israeli Airstrikes Target Hezbollah
Hezbollah
in Southern Lebanon". News. Fox. August 7, 2006.  ^ Katz, Yaakov (29 September 2010). "And They Struck Them With Blindness". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 10 April 2017.  ^ Israel
Israel
Shows Electronic Prowess Nov 26, 2007, David A. Fulghum and Robert Wall, Aviation Week & Space Technology ^ "Slain Hamas
Hamas
minister was key figure in '07 Gaza coup", Ha’aretz (profile) . ^ Fighel, Jonathan (February 1, 2009). "The Mujaheed Sheikh – Dr. Nizar Rayyan The Spiritual Mentor of Iz A-Din Al Qassam Brigades". International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism. Retrieved May 31, 2009.  ^ "Peres: 'Anyone Asking Israel
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Israel
national news . ^ " Hamas
Hamas
Commander Abu Zakaria al-Jamal Killed", Eagle World News, January 3, 2009 . ^ "Report: IAF struck arms convoy in Sudan in January". Ynet. March 26, 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2009.  ^ Babington, Deepa; Abdelaziz, Khaled (April 6, 2011). "Sudan accuses Israel
Israel
of attack near main port city". Reuters.  ^ "Reports in Sudan: Israel
Israel
struck two weapons convoys in past month", Ha’aretz . ^ "Khartoum fire blamed on Israeli bombing". Al Jazeera. 25 October 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2012.  ^ Blair, David (24 Oct 2012). "Israeli jets 'bombed weapons factory in Khartoum', Sudan claims". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 20, 2012.  ^ Black, Ian (2010-10-25), "Israeli Sudanese factory secret war", The Guardian, London, UK . ^ IDF, IL . ^ "Operation Pillar of Defense: Summary of Events" (World Wide Web log). IDF. 2012-11-22. Retrieved November 24, 2012.  ^ " Operation Protective Edge
Operation Protective Edge
by the Numbers". IDF. 2014-08-05.  ^ Raved, Ahiya (23 September 2014). "IDF: Syrian fighter jet shot down over Golan". ynet.co.il.  ^ "IAF strikes in Syria, kills rocket launchers". Ynet News.  ^ CNN, Oren Liebermann and Euan McKirdy. "Israeli jets strike inside Syria; evade anti-aircraft missiles". CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-17.  ^ "סוריה: "4 מטוסים תקפו מוצב צבאי. תהיה תגובה ישירה"". Ynet (in Hebrew). 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-03-17.  ^ Opall-Rome, Barbara (2017-03-17). "Israel's Arrow scores first operational hit — but against what?". Defense News. Retrieved 2017-03-17.  ^ Opall-Rome, Barbara (2017-03-20). " Israel
Israel
explains Arrow intercept of Syrian SAM". Defense News. Retrieved 2017-03-20.  ^ "IDF denies claim that Syria shot down Israeli jet". The Jerusalem Post JPost.com. Retrieved 2017-03-17.  ^ Critically wounded pilot downed in Syria strike walks out of hospital By TOI STAFF, 18 February 2018 ^ Israeli jet crashes under fire on Syrian border, The Times, 10 Feb 2018 ^ "Jonathan Conricus on Twitter".  ^ "IAF Opens New "Eitan" UAV Squadron to Operational Use, 21 December 2010". Israel
Israel
Defense Forces. December 21, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2011.  ^ Katz, Yaakov (September 29, 2010). "And they struck them with blindness". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved September 29, 2010.  ^ The Amazing Saga Of How Israel
Israel
Turned Its F-15s Into Multi-Role Bombers, Tyler Rogoway, Foxtrot Alpha, 2015 ^ ""Israel", Studies" (PDF). www.inss.org.il. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 24, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2017.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2017.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Military Balance 2017, International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2017, p. 384 . ^ " Israel
Israel
offers Croatia mixed fleet of F-16s". November 27, 2017.  ^ " Israel
Israel
declares its F-35I fleet combat-ready". December 7, 2017.  ^ " Israel
Israel
welcomes latest trio of F-35s". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 6 May 2017.  ^ " Israel
Israel
to receive the first of three Eitam AEW aircraft". mobiledevdesign.com. Retrieved 17 June 2017.  ^ McCarthy, Don (November 14, 2013). "The Sword of David: The Israeli Air Force at War". Pen and Sword – via Google Books.  ^ "מטוס ה"שמשון" השישי יגיע היום לבסיס חיל האוויר בנבטים - ישראל היום".  ^ " Israel
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- Excess SH-60F Sea-Hawk Helicopter
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steps up interest in KC-46 tanker". May 31, 2016.  ^ " Israel
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Helicopter
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Bibliography[edit]

Aloni, Shlomo (2001). Arab-Israeli Air Wars. Combat Aircraft. UK: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84176-294-4.  ——— (2004). Israeli Mirage and Nesher Aces. UK: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-783-2.  ——— (2004). Israeli Phantom II Aces. UK: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-653-4.  ——— (2009). Israeli A-4 Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
Units in Combat. Combat Aircraft. UK: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84603-430-5.  ———; Avidror, Zvi (2010). Hammers – Israel's Long-Range Heavy Bomber Arm: The Story of 69 Squadron. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7643-3655-3.  Dunstan, Simon (2003). The Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
1973 (1): The Golan Heights. Campaign. 118. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-220-3.  Franken, Johan; Van Der Avoort, Frank (October 2012). "Blue-Starred Defenders". Air Forces Monthly (295): 72–83.  Gordon, Shmuel (2008). Thirty hours in October (in Hebrew). Ma'ariv Book Guild.  Nordeen, Lon (1990). Fighters Over Israel. New York: Orion Books. ISBN 0-517-56603-6.  Norton, William ‘Bill’ (2004). Air War on the Edge – A History of the Israel
Israel
Air Force and its Aircraft since 1947. Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-088-5. 

Further reading[edit]

Amir, Amos. Brig Gen.Fire in the Sky : Flying in Defence of Israel. Pen & Sword Aviation (2005). ISBN 1-84415-156-5 Cull, Brian and Aloni, Shlomo, with Nicolle, David. Spitfires Over Israel. Grubb Street (1994). ISBN 0-948817-74-7 Cull, Brian and Aloni, Shlomo, with Nicolle, David. Wings Over Suez. Grubb Street (1996). ISBN 1-898697-48-5 Romm, Giora. Major Gen. Solitary: The Crash, Captivity and Comeback of an Ace Fighter Pilot. Black Irish (2014). ISBN 978-1-936891-28-3 Spector, Iftach. Brig Gen. Loud and Clear : The Memoir of an Israeli Fighter Pilot. Zenith Press (2009). ISBN 978-07603-3630-4

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Air force
Air force
of Israel.

IAF Official Website "The Israeli Air Force". NL: Scramble. Archived from the original on August 9, 2012 

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