Tag Archives: Israeli Air Force

This photo of AH-64 Apache helicopter salvoing flares in the dark is one of the best of 2013

Known as “Peten” (“Cobra” in Hebrew) in the Israeli Air Force, the Boeing AH-64A is an attack helicopter that Israel has extensively used in combat since 1990s.

Involved in Lebanon and, more recently, in Operation Cast Lead, the AH-64A and D have been frequently used to patrol the skies over Gaza and to launch air strikes against insurgents/terrorists. For this reason, they also carry countermeasures against MANPADS and IR guided surface-to-air missiles.

The “Peten” in the stunning image taken on Dec. 26 by xnir can be seen salvoing flares in the dark during a demonstration flight.

Flares, are high-temperature heat sources released by planes and helicopters to mislead surface-to-air or air-to-air missile’s heat-seeking targeting systems.

Cities around the world will celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks. The Israeli chopper had its pyrotechnic display few days earlier.

Image credit: Nir Ben-Yosef (xnir.com)

 

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Israeli, Italian, Hellenic and U.S. Air Force take part in largest joint-military exercise in Israel’s history

It has nothing to do with an eventual attack on Tehran as it was planned several months ago.

Still, its timing is funny, as it kicked off on the same day U.S. and Iran signed the historic nuclear deal in Geneva.

Exercise “Blue Flag”, taking place over a vast area of southern Israel from Nov. 24 to 28 and involving about 100 aircraft from the host nation, U.S., Italy and Greece, is the largest joint-military exercise in Israel’s history.

Its aim is to improve cooperation among the participating air forces and train together in a wide range of missions, including Defensive, Offensive Counter-Air and Close Air Support.

Italy, that has built a strong military relationship with Israel in the last years, taking part to previous local smaller scale drills, has deployed AMX and Tornado fighter bombers, while U.S. detached some F-15E Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath, in the UK. Greece dispatched F-16s to take part in Blue Flag that is being attended by observers from 20 nations.

H/T to Strategy Reports for the link to the video.

Image credit: IAF

 

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Watch Israeli Air Force warplanes performing aerial refueling during long-range air strike training

Carried out in the western Peloponnese and the Myrtoon Pelagos, the first of two exercises focusing on long-range air strike and cooperation between Israeli F-15s and F-16s and Greek aircraft and naval units has taken place on Oct. 8 and 9.

According to the Israeli Air Force, the drills are an opportunity to test “the ability of IAF aircraft to fly exceptionally long distances. The Israel Air Force, known as the IDF’s “long arm”, plays a central role in carrying out Israel’s military option if necessary. For this reason, the squadron is exercising and strengthening its range of capabilities through long-range flights as well as other exercises. The IAF must develop these capabilities as appropriate — whether for focused missions or broad operations.”

IAF has also released an interesting (and rare) video showing both F-15Is and F-16Is refueling from a B-707 tanker.

IAF has a long tradition of long (as well as medium) range attacks.

Even if the IDF blog says that the drill “is no different from training exercises conducted in the past few years […] and includes mid-flight refueling and the management of the air force control center,” Israeli media outlets highlighted that the fact the excercise was widely publicized on the Israel Defense Forces and IAF websites, hinted that it was related to Iran.

Indeed, whereas Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries will begin talks in Geneva about Tehran’s nuclear program in the next few days, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently urged to mobilize European public opinion against easing sanctions on Iran.

Israel has always said that all options are on the table to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Including the use of force.

Image credit: IAF

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Israel scrambled F-15 fighter jets against multiple airspace violations by unknown drones

The Jerusalem Post has reported that on Sept. 28, two Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets were scrambled to intercept two unidentified objects over Northern Israel.

The report is very limited in detail as it does not state whether an intercept was made or the two objects departed Israeli airspace.

Quoting Israeli TV Channel 2 news, they also said another jet was scrambled over an unnamed southern city;  no further details are known about this episode either, although the Times of Israel said that this jet had taken off from the Tel Nof Air Force base and flew over Haifa, in what it is believed to be a series of intrusions by drones.

The Times of Isreal also posted a link to the Channel 2 website which has a video of what it says was the F-15 that scrambled over Haifa.

On Apr. 25, 2013, an Israeli Air Force F-16 shot down an UAV (unmamned aerial vehicle) over the sea off Haifa.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

 

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At nearly 40, the IAI Kfir fighter jet received a new lease of life

The IAI Kfir, (“Lion Cub” in Hebrew) has just received an upgrade program to extend its life for another 40 years (possibly).

During the late 1960’s the Israel Aircraft Industries were forced to look inwardly after France had imposed an arms embargo on Isreal (which lasted 42 years) after Israel had paid for development work by Dassault on the Mirage V, a fair weather ground attack aircraft to replace the Israeli Mirage III’s in that role.

In short, avionics were removed from behind the cockpit to increase the fuel capacity and to lower maintenance costs and, in response to the arms embargo, Israel produced an unlicensed copy of the Mirage V and called it the Nesher, after it is thought that the blueprints for the engine and air frame had been acquired from third party Mirage producers.

After the Six Day war, supplies of Mirage III were pretty low so producing a domestic version made sense and got around the embargo completely.

The Kfir program began whens the need to enhance the Nesher became apparent due to the improving Soviet era jets that Israel’s neighbours were acquiring at the time.

The first thing the Kfir designers were to look at was an engine; two engines were looked at: the Rolls Royce Spey Turbofan (which had been used in the Blackburn Buccaneer, F-4K Phantom in UK use and by the AMX project in Italy) and the General Electric J79 Turbojet, the same as in the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom of which the Israeli Air Force (IAF) were just starting to take delivery of, which was selected and produced locally.

Due to the need for increased cooling of the J79, the Israeli engineers shortened the Mirage III rear fuselage and widened it to accommodate wider air intakes and an additional air intake was also introduced to the bottom of the vertical stabilizer.

A modified two seat Mirage IIIc took to the skies in 1970 powered by the new J79 engine shortly followed thereafter by a J79 powered Nesher during September 1971. But it was June 1973 when a highly modified Nesher powered by the J79 took to the skies for the first time, along with the Israeli avionics on board and re-arranged fuel tanks to improve range.

The finished article entered IAF service during 1975 and saw its first combat during an air strike into Lebanon during 1977 and even got its first kill, a Syrian Mig-21, in 1979 the same day as the F-15 took its first air to air kill. By 1982 the Kfir was used mostly in the ground attack role, leaving the F-15’s & F-16’s to take on the air superiority role.

The Kfir was retired from IAF service in 1996 but is still used by several export customers. Due to the J79 being a U.S design it meant that Israel had to gain permission from the U.S State Department to export the Kfir which did limit the export potential but was bought by Colombia, Ecuador and Sri Lanka and have been used extensively by those nations.

Twenty five examples were also used by the U.S Navy as aggressor aircraft operating out of NAS Fallon and were given the name of F-21A.

Israel has recently announced a new upgrade program to extend the life of the existing export examples named “Block 60.”

The upgrade basically strips the aircraft back to its fuselage and then performs a nuts and bolts rebuilt, upgrading avionics and other systems including a new data-link system, something the Kfir never had being a third generation aircraft.

IAI state that the improvements bring the Kfir up to a fourth generation aircraft and something that is suitable for the 21st Century.

All of Colombia’s Kfir jets have gone through this program as well as the further twelve examples that were acquired; IAI is hoping that it can sell the Block 60 upgrade to the other two operators.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

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