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Israeli Air Force

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The 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 Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28th, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. As of May 2012 Aluf Amir Eshel serves as the Air Force Commander.

The Israeli Air Force formed on May 28th, 1948, using commandeered or donated civilian aircraft and obsolete and surplus 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 played an important part in Operation Kadesh, Israel's part in the 1956 Suez Crisis. On June 5th, 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. Shortly after the end of the Six-Day War, Egypt initiated the War of Attrition, and the Israeli Air Force undertook repeated bombings of strategic targets deep within enemy territory. On October 7th, 1973, the IAF conducted Operation Tagar against Egyptian air bases of the Egyptian Air Defence Force. Although initially successful, with 10 bases hit, the urgency of the fighting on the Golan heights forced the operation's suspension.

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 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. On June 7th, 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 9th, 1982, the Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Mole Cricket 19, crippling the Syrian air defence array. The IAF continued to mount attacks on Hezbollah and PLO positions in south Lebanon. On October 1st, 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 Tunisia, by F-15 Eagles. 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. It took part in many missions since, including during the 2006 Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Protective Edge. On September 6th, 2007, the Israeli Air Force successfully bombed an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor in Operation Orchard.

Aircraft Inventory[edit]


  • McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Baz x 68 (Air Superiority Fighter)
  • McDonnell-Douglas F-15I Ra'am x 26 (Strike Fighter)
  • General Dynamics F-16C/D Burak-2020 x 136 (Multirole Fighter)
  • Lockheed Martin F-16I Sufa x 102 (Multirole Fighter)
  • Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir]] x 2 - 76 on order

Transport Aircraft[edit]

  • Beechcraft Super King Air B200T/CT Tzofit x 22 (Utility/Transport/Trainer)
  • Beechcraft RC-12D/K Kookiya x 8 (EW/ELINT/SIGINT Aircraft)
  • Beechcraft A-36 Khofit x 22 (Utility Aircraft)
  • Boeing 707 Re'em x 4 (Heavy Transport)
  • Boeing KC-707 Saknai x 10 (Aerial Tanker)
  • Gulfstream G500 Nahshon-Shavit x 4 (Special Electronic Missions Aircraft)
  • Gulfstream G550 Nahshon-Eitam x 2 (Conformal Airborne Early Warning)
  • Lockheed C/KC-130E/H Qarnaf x 16 (Tactical Transport/Aerial Tanker)
  • Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Shimshon x 8 (Tactical Transport)

Trainer Aircraft[edit]

  • Beechcraft T-6A Efroni x 20 (Primary Aircraft)
  • Grob G-120AI Snunit x 28 (Trainer Aircraft)
  • Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Lavi x 30 (Jet Trainer)


  • Bell 206B Saifan x 6 (Light Transport/Trainer Helicopter)
  • Boeing AH-64A Peten x 28 (Attack Helicopter)
  • Boeing AH-64D Saraph x 22 (Attack Helicopter)
  • Eurocopter AS565SA Atalef x 8 (Maritime Patrol Aircraft)
  • Sikorsky CH-53 Yas'ur 2025 x 26 (Heavy Lift Transport Helicopter)
  • Sikorsky UH-60A/L Yanshuf x 50 (Tactical Transport Helicopter)
  • Sikorsky SH-60F Oceanhawk x 8 (Maritime Helicopter)


  • IAI Heron-TP Eitan
  • IAI Heron-1 Shoval
  • Elbit Hermes 450S Zik
  • Elbit Hermes 900 Kochav

Future Procurement[edit]

  • AgustaWestland AW119 Koala x ?
  • Bell 407 x ?
  • Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey x 6 (Multipurpose Tiltrotor)
  • Boeing KC-46 Pegasus x 2 (Aerial Tanker)
  • Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil x ?
  • Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir x 76 (Multirole Fighter) - 2 delivered
  • Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion x ?
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