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1
Israeli Air Force and their F 15
Israeli Air Force and their F 15's (full length)
::2011/11/20::
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The IAF israeli air force (english)60 min CBS חייל
The IAF israeli air force (english)60 min CBS חייל
::2012/07/18::
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THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE: DOGFIGHTS OF THE MIDDLE EAST - Military/War/History (documentary)
THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE: DOGFIGHTS OF THE MIDDLE EAST - Military/War/History (documentary)
::2014/01/24::
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Israeli Air Force 2014 ✡IAF✡ (חיל אוויר ישראלי)
Israeli Air Force 2014 ✡IAF✡ (חיל אוויר ישראלי)
::2012/08/23::
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Israeli Air Force on 60 Minutes 1 of 2
Israeli Air Force on 60 Minutes 1 of 2
::2009/06/27::
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1982 Israeli Air Force gave a lesson to Syria
1982 Israeli Air Force gave a lesson to Syria
::2009/01/12::
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7
Israeli Air Force IAF Female F-15 Eagle Pilot
Israeli Air Force IAF Female F-15 Eagle Pilot
::2014/04/20::
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The strongest fighters of the Israeli Air Force F 16I videos
The strongest fighters of the Israeli Air Force F 16I videos
::2012/12/29::
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IAF 1/5 Israeli Air Force
IAF 1/5 Israeli Air Force
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The birth of the Israeli air force
The birth of the Israeli air force
::2013/01/24::
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Raid On Iraqi Nuclear Plant (Israeli Air Force IAF)
Raid On Iraqi Nuclear Plant (Israeli Air Force IAF)
::2012/02/29::
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Israeli Air Force - Best Air Force on earth
Israeli Air Force - Best Air Force on earth
::2011/08/21::
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13
ISRAELI AIR FORCE pilots train in a sophisticated new simulator for a possible attack on Iran.
ISRAELI AIR FORCE pilots train in a sophisticated new simulator for a possible attack on Iran.
::2013/11/28::
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Israeli Air Force Attack Gaza
Israeli Air Force Attack Gaza
::2014/07/20::
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Israeli Air Force Strikes Rockets in Transit
Israeli Air Force Strikes Rockets in Transit
::2008/12/29::
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IAF Israeli Air Force in action
IAF Israeli Air Force in action
::2012/09/09::
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17
Jane
Jane's IAF: Israeli Air Force Intro
::2010/11/09::
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Israeli Air Force Song: "On Silver Wings" (English Subtitles)
Israeli Air Force Song: "On Silver Wings" (English Subtitles)
::2013/02/01::
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Israeli airforce continues to pound Gaza
Israeli airforce continues to pound Gaza
::2012/11/19::
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Israeli Air Force vs Iran Air Force (2012)
Israeli Air Force vs Iran Air Force (2012)
::2012/04/03::
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☫ Iranian Air force ☫(IRIAF) vs. ✡ Israeli Air force ✡ (IAF)
☫ Iranian Air force ☫(IRIAF) vs. ✡ Israeli Air force ✡ (IAF)
::2013/06/25::
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Sky Wars - Israeli Airforce Operation Collection
Sky Wars - Israeli Airforce Operation Collection
::2011/04/12::
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Yonatan Shapira, Former Israeli Air Force Pilot, Describes Why He Joined Gaza Aid Flotilla
Yonatan Shapira, Former Israeli Air Force Pilot, Describes Why He Joined Gaza Aid Flotilla
::2011/06/30::
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Israel Air Force + Infantry video
Israel Air Force + Infantry video
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ABOVE AND  BEYOND: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force
ABOVE AND BEYOND: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force
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Israeli Air Force in Action
Israeli Air Force in Action
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Israeli Air Force Strikes Terror Targets in Gaza
Israeli Air Force Strikes Terror Targets in Gaza
::2008/12/29::
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The Israeli Air Force Airshow for the The Independence Day 65th of Israel
The Israeli Air Force Airshow for the The Independence Day 65th of Israel
::2013/04/18::
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The Israeli Air Force Airshow for the The Independence Day 66th of Israel
The Israeli Air Force Airshow for the The Independence Day 66th of Israel
::2014/05/07::
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Israeli Air Force- Ultimate Power
Israeli Air Force- Ultimate Power
::2012/05/16::
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yadvashem.org : IAF Israeli Air Force fly over Auschwitz
yadvashem.org : IAF Israeli Air Force fly over Auschwitz
::2007/10/11::
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Israeli Air Force Pilots Warn Iran
Israeli Air Force Pilots Warn Iran
::2013/10/15::
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Иордания Израель Israel Jordan Dogfight Israeli Air force & Royal Jordanian Air Force in year 1966
Иордания Израель Israel Jordan Dogfight Israeli Air force & Royal Jordanian Air Force in year 1966
::2013/10/01::
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Jane
Jane's Israeli Air Force / כוכב כחול -- Playing the Demo
::2013/03/08::
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Israel Air Force v2 - The Final Countdown
Israel Air Force v2 - The Final Countdown
::2006/03/09::
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Israeli Airstrike Footage from Gaza: Warning Rocket Followed by an F-16 Airstrike
Israeli Airstrike Footage from Gaza: Warning Rocket Followed by an F-16 Airstrike
::2014/07/12::
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Israeli Air Force Attack the nuclear reactor in Iraq
Israeli Air Force Attack the nuclear reactor in Iraq
::2007/01/12::
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The Israeli air force shooting down enemy warplanes
The Israeli air force shooting down enemy warplanes
::2011/11/19::
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Hamas Militants and Weapons in Urban Gaza Hit by Israel Air Force
Hamas Militants and Weapons in Urban Gaza Hit by Israel Air Force
::2009/01/06::
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Israeli Air Force - Knights Of The Sky
Israeli Air Force - Knights Of The Sky
::2007/05/17::
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Israeli Air Force Above Auschwitz חיל האויר בשמי אושוויץ
Israeli Air Force Above Auschwitz חיל האויר בשמי אושוויץ
::2010/07/22::
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Hatzerim air base - Israeli Air Force Flight Academy course #164 graduation and Air Show
Hatzerim air base - Israeli Air Force Flight Academy course #164 graduation and Air Show
::2012/06/29::
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Israel Air Force Precision Strike on Qassam Rocket Launcher
Israel Air Force Precision Strike on Qassam Rocket Launcher
::2008/12/31::
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IRAN unveils ADVANCED AIR DEFENCE Sayyad 2 Israeli Air force worried
IRAN unveils ADVANCED AIR DEFENCE Sayyad 2 Israeli Air force worried
::2014/07/17::
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Israeli Air Force Pt. 1
Israeli Air Force Pt. 1
::2008/08/29::
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IAF 3/5 Israeli Air Force
IAF 3/5 Israeli Air Force
::2008/04/14::
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February 25 2014 Breaking News Israeli air force strikes Hezbollah bases on Syrian border
February 25 2014 Breaking News Israeli air force strikes Hezbollah bases on Syrian border
::2013/11/01::
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Jane
Jane's Combat Simulations: Israeli Air Force (1998) - Trailer
::2014/08/07::
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The Israeli Air Force helicopters
The Israeli Air Force helicopters
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The Israeli Air Force IAI Lavi
The Israeli Air Force IAI Lavi
::2007/01/12::
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Israeli Air Force
Coat of arms of the Israeli Air Force.png
Founded 28 May 1948
Country Israel State of Israel
Type Air force
Size 34,000 active personnel
55,000 reserve personnel
736 aircraft
Part of Badge of the Israel Defence Forces.svg Israel Defense Forces
Garrison/HQ HaKirya
Tel Aviv, Israel
Commanders
Commander Aluf Amir Eshel
Insignia
Air Force Ensign Israel Air Force Flag.svg
Roundel IAF roundel.svg IAF Roundel Low Visibility.svg
Aviator badge Israeli Air Force Pilot Wings Brevet.gif
Aircraft flown
Attack Boeing F-15I Ra'am
Fighter McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
Patrol IAI Seascan, Eurocopter Panther
Reconnaissance IAI Eitam, Beechcraft RC-12D
Trainer Grob G-120, Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, Beechcraft C-12 Huron, Bell 206
Transport Boeing 707-320, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion, Sikorsky S-70
Tanker Lockheed KC-130 Hercules, Boeing KC-707

The Israeli Air Force (IAF; זְרוֹעַ הַאֲוִויר וְהַחָלָל, Zroa HaAvir VeHahalal, "Air and Space Arm", commonly known as חֵיל הַאֲוִויר, Kheil HaAvir, "Air Corps") operates as the aerial warfare branch of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. As of May 2012 Aluf Amir Eshel serves as the Air Force Commander.

Mission statement[edit]

The Israeli Air Force states the following as its functions:[1]

  1. To protect the State of Israel from aerial attack and to defend the IDF's zone of operations
  2. To achieve air supremacy throughout the IDF's zone of operation
  3. To participate in the fighting on both ground and sea
  4. To hit targets deep in enemy territory
  5. To create the aerial intelligence picture and participate in the creation of the general intelligence picture and its assessment
  6. To transport troops, equipment and weapons systems
  7. To carry out search, rescue and aerial evacuation missions
  8. To execute special operations
  9. 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 is a blue Star of David on a white circle. This is usually painted in six positions – on the top and bottom of each wing, and each side of the fuselage. Squadron markings are usually carried on the tail fin.

History[edit]

Early years (1948–1967)[edit]

The forerunners of the Israeli Air Force were the Palestine Flying Service established by the Irgun in 1937, and Sherut Avir, the air wing of the Haganah.[2] The Israeli Air Force formed on May 28, 1948, shortly after Israel declared statehood and found itself under attack. It 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 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 62 Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk IXEs (also purchased from Czechoslovakia). Creativity and resourcefulness were the early foundations of 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). Many[quantify] of the first IAF's pilots in 1948 were foreign volunteers (both Jewish and non-Jewish) and World War II veterans, who wanted to collaborate with Israel's struggle for independence.

Israel's new fighter-arm first went into action on May 29, 1948, assisting the 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 Isdud. Although damage to the enemy was minimal, two aircraft were lost and Cohen killed, the attack achieved its goal and stopped the Egyptians. The Israeli Air Force scored its first aerial victories on June 3, when Modi Alon, flying Avia D.112, shot down two 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.[3] As the war progressed more and more aircraft were procured, including Boeing B-17s, Bristol Beaufighters, de Havilland Mosquitoes and P-51D Mustangs, leading to a shift in the balance of power.

Suez Crisis (1956)[edit]

The 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 severed telephone lines in the Sinai, some using their propellor blades,[4] 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 in capturing an Egyptian warship that bombarded the Israeli city of Haifa – an airstrike damaged the Egyptian ship's engines, enabling Israeli ships to reach it and capture it.

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 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 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.[5]

Mirage IIIC at the 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 initiated the War of Attrition, hoping to prevent 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 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 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 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 planes with surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery units.

Yom Kippur War (1973)[edit]

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.[6] IAF aircraft were therefore in the process of re-armament to the air-to-air role when Yom Kippur War hostilities began at 14:00.[7] 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 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.[8] 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.[9][10]

After the failure of the Israeli counter-offensive in the Sinai on October 8, the southern front remained relatively static and the IAF focused its attention on the Syrian front.[10] 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,[11] IAF Phantoms repeatedly struck Syrian air fields.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

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 followed on this success by attacking at the seam between the 2nd and 3rd Egyptian armies and crossing the 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.[10][15]

Official Israeli Air Force losses of the 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.[16][17] 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).[17][18] 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.[17][19]

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 and 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 unauthorised 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 transport aircraft secretly flew to Entebbe Airport for a rescue operation. In March 1978, the 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 that took part in the attack was Ilan Ramon, later Israel's first astronaut.

1982 Lebanon War and aftermath[edit]

Israeli Air Force F-16A Netz #107 with 7.5 kill markings, including one for Operation Opera, a world record for a single F-16

Prior to the 1982 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 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 positions in south Lebanon. On October 1, 1985, In response to a 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. 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 headquarters and barracks were either destroyed or damaged.

1990s and beyond[edit]

69 Squadron F-15I Ra'ams at Red Flag 04-3
Israeli AH-64D Saraph during an exercise with the Hellenic Air Force.
Israeli Air Force F-15s over Auschwitz. September 3, 2003

Many of the IAF's electronics and weapons systems are developed and built in Israel by Israel Military Industries, 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 of 1991, Israel was attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles. Israeli Air Force pilots were on constant stand-by in their cockpits throughout the conflict, ready to fly to 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 sought to deal with the Scuds.

In 1991, the IAF carried out Operation Solomon which brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1993 and 1996, the IAF participated in Operation Accountability and Operation Grapes of Wrath, respectively.

In the late 1990s, the IAF began acquiring the F-15I Ra'am (Thunder) and the F-16I Sufa (Storm), manufactured specially for Israel according to IAF requirements. The first of 102 F-16I Sufas arrived in April 2004 joining an 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 received modified Gulfstream V jets ("Nachshon"), equipped with advanced intelligence systems made by Israel Military Industries.

The Israeli Air Force took an extensive part in IDF operations during the al-Aqsa Intifada, including the controversial targeted killings of Palestinian militant 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 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 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.[20] Alan Dershowitz noted that "No army in history has ever had a better ratio of combatants to civilians killed in a comparable setting".[21]

On October 5, 2003, the Israeli Air Force attacked an alleged Palestinian militant training camp in Ain es Saheb, Syria.

IAF bombs a Hezbollah rocket launcher

2006 Lebanon War[edit]

The IAF played a critical role in the 2006 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.[22] 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 shot down an IAF CH-53 Yas'ur helicopter on the last day of the war, killing five crew members.[23][24] Israeli aircraft also shot down three of Hezbollah's Iranian-made[25] aerial drones during the conflict.[26]

Activities 2007–present[edit]

On September 6, 2007, the Israeli Air Force successfully bombed an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor in Operation Orchard.[27]

119 Squadron F-16Is, Independence Day 2011

The Israel Air Force spearheaded Operation Cast Lead (2008–2009), carrying out more than 2,360 air strikes. It had a principal role in destroying Hamas targets, though civilian casualties and damage to civilian facilities and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip led human rights groups to accuse Israel of war crimes.[28] Israel claimed that some locations were used to launch rockets at Israel.[29] The IAF also killed several senior Hamas commanders including Said Seyam,[30] Nizar Rayan,[31] Tawfik Jaber,[32] and Abu Zakaria al-Jamal.[33]

According to a CBS news report, in January 2009 Israeli planes struck a convoy of trucks in Sudan headed for Egypt and carrying weapons apparently meant for the Gaza Strip. Seventeen trucks were bombed and thirty-nine smugglers were killed in the strike.[34] On April 5, 2011, a car driving from Port Sudan Airport to Port Sudan was destroyed by a missile. Both passengers were killed and one of the passengers may have been a senior military commander of Hamas. The Sudanese Foreign Minister blamed the attack on Israel.[35] Sudanese newspapers reported that Israeli aircraft attacked Gaza-bound arms convoys again in late 2011.[36] On October 24, 2012, Sudan claimed that Israel had bombed a munitions factory south of Khartoum.[37][38][39]

The Israeli Air Force also operates surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery units. These have all participated in the wars and have shot down a number of Arab aircraft. Since 1990 their major role has been 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.[40]

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 buildings. Many of these attacks were carried out by the Air Force.[41]

On January 30, 2013, Israeli aircraft allegedly struck a Syrian convoy transporting weapons to Hezbollah.[42] Other sources stated the targeted site was a military research center in Jamraya responsible for developing biological and chemical weapons.[43] Two additional air strikes reportedly took place on May 3 and 5, 2013. Both targeted long-ranged weapons in transit through Syria from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.[44][45] According to anonymous U.S. officials, Israel launched another airstrike on 5 July. It targeted Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles near the city of Latakia, and killed several Syrian troops.[46] Israel is believed to have carried out another raid on October 30, 2013. The attack happened at an air defense site in Snawbar, 10 miles south of Latakia.[47] Syrian opposition sources, as well as Lebanese sources, reported that another strike happened in Latakia on January 26, 2014. The target was allegedly S-300 missiles.[48] It was reported that Israeli aircraft carried out two airstrikes against Hezbollah facilities in Lebanon near the border with Syria on February 24, 2014, killing several militants. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the attack targeted a Hezbollah missile base.[49]

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 facilities, command and control centers, military administration facilities, weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, and training and military compounds.[50]

Organization[edit]

Israeli Air Force air bases
UH-60 Blackhawk landing in the desert
IAF Boeing 707 refueling F-15s
201 Squadron F-16I and 103 Squadron C-130 at the 2010 Kecskemét International Air Show, Hungary

Administrative organization[edit]

  • Chief of Air Staff Group
  • Fixed Wing Group
  • Helicopter Group
  • Intelligence Group
  • Equipment Group
  • Manpower Group
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Unit Control Group
  • Air Special Forces Group
  • Air Defense Command
    • Northern Air Defense Regiment
    • Central Air Defense Regiment
    • Southern Air Defense Regiment (including Air Defense School)

Operational organization[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

Current[edit]

Note that multiple sources provide different figures:
Aircraft Origin Type Versions
In Service
By INSS By FlightGlobal By IISS
Fighter aircraft
Boeing F-15 Eagle  United States air superiority fighter F-15A "Baz" \Bigg\} 52[55] \Big\} 42[56] 16[57]
F-15C "Baz" 17[57]
F-15B "Baz" \Big\} 16[56] 6[57]
F-15D "Baz" 11[57]
Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle  United States strike fighter F-15I "Ra'am" 25[55] 25[56] 25[57]
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon  United States multirole fighter F-16A "Netz" \Big\} 107[55] \Big\} 63[56][58] 77[57]
F-16B "Netz" 16[57]
F-16C "Barak" \Big\} 136[55] 77[56][58] 78[57]
F-16D "Barak" 49[56][58] 49[57]
F-16I "Sufa" 100[55] 99[56] 99[57]
Trainer aircraft
Grob G-120  Germany trainer aircraft G-120AI "Snunit" 27[55] 17[56] 17[57]
Beechcraft T-6 Texan II  United States trainer aircraft T-6A "Efroni" 19[55] 20[56] 20[57]
McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk  United States ground attack / trainer A-4N, TA-4H/J "Ayit" 20[55] 20[59] 46[57]
Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master  Italy transonic jet trainer M-346 "Lavi" 2 (30)[60]
Transport / Aerial refueling / Aerial firefighting / Utility / Signals intelligence / Maritime patrol / AEW
Air Tractor AT-802  United States aerial firefighting AT-802F 8[55] 7[56] 3[57]
Beechcraft Bonanza  United States utility A-36 "Khofit" 22[55] 22[57]
Beechcraft Super King Air (C-12 Huron)  United States utility / transport / trainer B-200/T/CT "Tzofit" \Big\} 29[55] \Big\} 29[56] 22[57]
EW / ELINT / SIGINT RC-12D/K "Kookiya" 6[57]
IAI SeaScan  Israel maritime patrol 1124N "Shahaf" 3[55] 3[56] 3[57]
Gulfstream G550  United States SEMA G500 "Nahshon-Shavit" 3[55] 3[56] 3[57]
CAEW G550 "Nahshon-Eitam" 2[55] 2[56] 2[57]
Lockheed C-130 Hercules  United States tactical transport C-130E "Qarnaf" \Big\} 12[55] \Big\} 12[56] 5[57]
C-130H "Qarnaf" 6[57]
aerial refueling KC-130H "Qarnaf" 3[55] 4[56] 4[57]
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules  United States tactical transport C-130J "Shimshon" - 1 (4)[61] -
Boeing 707  United States heavy transport / EW 707 "Re'em" 8[55] 1[56] 3[57]
aerial refueling KC-707 "Saknai" 5[55] 8[56] 7[57]
Helicopters
Bell AH-1 Cobra  United States attack helicopter AH-1"Tzefa" 33[55] 49[56] 47[57]
Eurocopter Panther  France maritime patrol AS-565SA "Atalef" 5[55] 6[56] 7[57]
Boeing AH-64 Apache  United States attack helicopter AH-64A "Peten" 30[55] 26[62] 27[57]
AH-64D "Saraph" 17[55] 22[62] 17[57]
Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion  United States heavy transport CH-53 "Yas'ur 2000" \Big\} 37[55] 18[63] \Big\} 26[57]
CH-53 "Yas'ur 2025" 5[63]
Sikorsky S-70 (UH-60 Black Hawk)  United States tactical transport S-70A / UH-60A/L "Yanshuf" 49[55] 48[56] 49[57]
Bell 206 (OH-58 Kiowa)  United States light transport / trainer 206B "Saifan" 18[56] 6[57]
Unmanned aerial vehicles
IAI Eitan  Israel MALE Heron-TP "Eitan" + + +[57]
IAI Heron  Israel MALE Heron-1 "Shoval" + + +[57]
Elbit Hermes 900  Israel MALE Hermes 900 "Kochav" +[64] +[57]
Elbit Hermes 450  Israel Tactical UAV Hermes 450S "Zik" + + +[57]

Future[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions Quantity Notes
Fighter aircraft
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II  United States stealth multirole fighter F-35I "Adir"[65][66] 20 out of 75 Pending delivery[67][68]
Transport / Utility aircraft
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules  United States tactical transport C-130J-30 "Shimshon" 6 Pending delivery.[69]
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey  United States multipurpose tiltrotor V-22B Block "C" 6 + 6 Pending delivery.[70] Deal being finalized.[71]
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker  United States aerial refueling  ? 3 Deal being finalized.[72][73]
Helicopters
Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion  United States heavy transport  ? Pending evaluation.[74]

Historic[edit]

Munitions and space systems[edit]

Pilot selection and training[edit]

IAF Pilots sit atop an F-16D Barak

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 Israeli 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 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 navigator "Shari" in 1998, followed three years later by Roni Zuckerman, the first female jet fighter pilot in IAF history.[75][76]

Ranks[edit]

IAF ranks are identical to other 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]

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 No Equivalent Rav aluf Aluf Tat aluf Aluf mishne Sgan aluf Rav seren Seren Segen Segen mishne No Equivalent No Equivalent
Rav aluf
"Chief General"
Aluf
"General"
Tat aluf
"Subordinate General"
Aluf mishne
"Junior General"
Sgan aluf
"Deputy General"
Rav seren
"Chief Commander"
Seren
"Captain"
Segen
"Deputy"
Segen mishne
"Junior Deputy"


 USA
(Edit)
General of the Air Force1 General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Candidate Officer Cadet

List of IAF commanders[edit]

Amir Eshel, the current IAF commander

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "Mission Statement". About the IAF. Israeli Air Force. Retrieved October 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ The Israeli Air Force (IAF) in the War of Independence, IL: Machal .
  3. ^ "Attributed Israeli Air Combat Victories". Aces. Safarikovi. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ Norton 2004, p. 125.
  5. ^ Mitchell G. Bard. "The 1968 Sale of Phantom Jets to Israel". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ Norton 2004, p. 36.
  7. ^ Aloni & Avidror 2010, p. 130.
  8. ^ Aloni & Avidror 2010, pp. 130–34.
  9. ^ Norton 2004, pp. 38–39.
  10. ^ a b c Aloni 2001, pp. 83–87.
  11. ^ Aloni 2009, p. 48.
  12. ^ Aloni 2004, pp. 37–45.
  13. ^ Aloni 2004, p. 41.
  14. ^ Aloni 2004, p. 44.
  15. ^ Aloni 2004, p. 68.
  16. ^ Nordeen 1990, p. 146.
  17. ^ a b c Norton 2004, p. 40.
  18. ^ Dunstan 2003, p. 39.
  19. ^ Franken & Van Der Avoort 2012.
  20. ^ Harel, Amos (December 30, 2007). "Pinpoint attacks on Gaza more precise". Haaretz. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  21. ^ Dershowitz, Alan (January 3, 2008). "Targeted Killing Is Working, So Why Is The Press Not Reporting It?". The Huffington Post. 
  22. ^ Benn, Aluf (October 24, 2006). "Report: IAF wiped out 59 Iranian missile launchers in 34 minutes". Haaretz. Israel. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  23. ^ Katz, Yaacov (August 12, 2011). "Security and Defense: Coordinating capabilities". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  24. ^ Egozi, Arie (August 6, 2006). "Israel studies CH-53 shoot-down". Flight global. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  25. ^ Schiff, Ze'ev; Stern, Yoav (November 10, 2004). "Report: Iran admits to supplying Hezbollah with drones". Haaretz. IL. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Israeli Airstrikes Target Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon". News (Fox). August 7, 2006. 
  27. ^ Mahnaimi, Uzi (2007-09-16). "Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’". The Sunday Times (London, UK). Retrieved July 13, 2008. 
  28. ^ Macintyre, Donald; Sengupta, Kim (January 15, 2009). "Civilian casualties: Human rights groups accuse Israelis of war crimes". The Independent (London). 
  29. ^ "IDF: Hamas Rocket Launch Site at Center of Civilian Population", Algemeiner, 2012-11-14 .
  30. ^ "Slain Hamas minister was key figure in '07 Gaza coup", Ha’aretz (profile) .
  31. ^ 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. 
  32. ^ "Peres: 'Anyone Asking Israel to Stop Shooting, Change Address'", Israel national news .
  33. ^ "Hamas Commander Abu Zakaria al-Jamal Killed", Eagle World News, January 3, 2009 .
  34. ^ "Report: IAF struck arms convoy in Sudan in January". Ynet. March 26, 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  35. ^ Babington, Deepa; Abdelaziz, Khaled (April 6, 2011). "Sudan accuses Israel of attack near main port city". Reuters. 
  36. ^ "Reports in Sudan: Israel struck two weapons convoys in past month", Ha’aretz .
  37. ^ "Khartoum fire blamed on Israeli bombing". Al Jazeera. 25 October 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  38. ^ Blair, David (24 Oct 2012). "Israeli jets 'bombed weapons factory in Khartoum', Sudan claims". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  39. ^ Black, Ian (2010-10-25), "Israeli Sudanese factory secret war", The Guardian (London, UK) .
  40. ^ IDF, IL .
  41. ^ "Operation Pillar of Defense: Summary of Events" (World Wide Web log). IDF. 2012-11-22. Retrieved November 24, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Israel strikes Syrian weapons en route to Hezbollah". The Jerusalem Post. January 30, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Analysis: Syria center long been on Israel’s radar". The Jerusalem Post. January 31, 2013. 
  44. ^ "IAF strike in Syria targeted arms from Iran". The Jerusalem Post. May 4, 2013. 
  45. ^ Cohen, Gili (May 5, 2013). "Israel overnight strike targeted Iranian missile shipment meant for Hezbollah". Ha'aretz. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Report: Israel behind recent strike on Syria missile depot, US officials say". Haaretz. 12 July 2013. 
  47. ^ Israel blamed for airstrikes at Syrian missile base". Christian Science Monitor. 31 October 2013.
  48. ^ Israeli planes said to hit missile site in Syria The Times of Israel. 27 January 2014
  49. ^ Report: Hezbollah militants killed in Israeli strike Yedioth Ahronoth. 24 February 2014
  50. ^ "Operation Protective Edge by the Numbers". IDF. 2014-08-05. 
  51. ^ "IAF Opens New "Eitan" UAV Squadron to Operational Use, 21 December 2010". Israel Defense Forces. December 21, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  52. ^ Katz, Yaakov (September 29, 2010). "And they struck them with blindness". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  53. ^ "אתר חיל-האוויר" [Site Force – Air] (in Hebrew). IAF. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  54. ^ Blumenkrantz, Zohar (December 3, 2010). "Israel's new squadron of fire-fighting planes is now ready for action". Haaretz. IL. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Israel" (PDF), Studies, The Institute for National Security, May 8, 2012 .
  56. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "World Air Forces 2014". Flight International. Flight global. December 5, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  57. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj The Military Balance 2014, International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 5, 2014, p. 326 .
  58. ^ a b c "MiliCAS". Flight International (database). Flight global. July 27, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2012.  Shows the Israeli air force has an active fleet of 325 F-16s, including 126 General Electric F110-100-powered C/D examples.
  59. ^ Arie Egozi (March 12, 2012). "Israel's M-346 selection fires up TOR joint venture". Flight International. Retrieved March 12, 2012. 
  60. ^ Israel receives first two Lavi trainers - 7/9/2014 - Flight Global
  61. ^ Israel welcomes arrival of first C-130J transport - 4/9/2014 - Flight Global
  62. ^ a b "Israeli Apache upgrade adds avionics pod". October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  63. ^ a b "Israel acquires surplus CH-53 helicopters for spares". January 25, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  64. ^ Hermes 900 stars for Israel - 3/25/2014 - Flight Global
  65. ^ "F-35I – Defense-Update Newscast". Defence-update.net. August 15, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  66. ^ "Israel To Buy F-35s With Cockpit Mods". Aviation Week. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  67. ^ "Israel set to build wings for some 800 F-35s". Reuters. August 30, 2010. 
  68. ^ "Israel to purchase F-35 stealth jets". Ynetnews. June 20, 1995. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  69. ^ Israel's first C-130J set for delivery on 9 April - 3/31/2014 - Flight Global
  70. ^ "Israel V‐22B block C aircraft". Major arms sales. DSCA .
  71. ^ Israel could double V-22 order size, Bell says - Flightglobal.com, 25 February 2014
  72. ^ "Y net news" .
  73. ^ Shanker, Thom (2013-04-19). "US selling arms to Israel, Saudi Arabia & Emirates". The New York Times .
  74. ^ "Israel ditches Apache upgrade plan, commits to CH-53K". Flight International. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  75. ^ Norton 2004, p. 105.
  76. ^ Feldinger, Lauren Gelfond (September 21, 2008). "Skirting history". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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