Israeli Air Force
Overview
 
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Its current Commander in Chief is Aluf
Aluf
Aluf is the term used for General and Admiral in the Israel Defense Forces . In addition to the Aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word...

 Ido Nehoshtan
Ido Nehoshtan
Aluf Ido Nehoshtan, also Nehushtan is a general in the Israel Defense Forces and the current Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force. He is the former head of the Planning Directorate...

.
The Israeli Air Force states the following as its functions:
  1. Defence of Israel's airspace the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) zone of operations.
  2. Attaining aerial superiority over the IDF's zone of operations
  3. Participating in combat operations on both land and sea
  4. Striking targets deep inside enemy territory
  5. Creation of the aerial intelligence picture and participation in the formation and evaluation of Israel's overall intelligence assessment
  6. Transportation of troops, equipment and weapons systems
  7. Execution of search, rescue and aerial evacuation missions
  8. Execution of special operations
  9. Developement of aerial power within the framework of the IDF.

Preceded by the Sherut Avir
Sherut Avir
The Sherut Avir was the air force of the Haganah and the forerunner of the Israeli Air Force.-Founding:The Sherut Avir was founded in November 1947, just two weeks prior to the passing of the 1947 UN Partition Plan which proposed the division of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.It was at...

, the air wing of the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

, the Israeli Air Force was officially formed on May 28, 1948, shortly after Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 declared statehood and found itself under immediate attack.
Encyclopedia
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Its current Commander in Chief is Aluf
Aluf
Aluf is the term used for General and Admiral in the Israel Defense Forces . In addition to the Aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word...

 Ido Nehoshtan
Ido Nehoshtan
Aluf Ido Nehoshtan, also Nehushtan is a general in the Israel Defense Forces and the current Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force. He is the former head of the Planning Directorate...

.

Mission statement

The Israeli Air Force states the following as its functions:
  1. Defence of Israel's airspace the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) zone of operations.
  2. Attaining aerial superiority over the IDF's zone of operations
  3. Participating in combat operations on both land and sea
  4. Striking targets deep inside enemy territory
  5. Creation of the aerial intelligence picture and participation in the formation and evaluation of Israel's overall intelligence assessment
  6. Transportation of troops, equipment and weapons systems
  7. Execution of search, rescue and aerial evacuation missions
  8. Execution of special operations
  9. Developement of aerial power within the framework of the IDF.

Early years (1948–1967)

Preceded by the Sherut Avir
Sherut Avir
The Sherut Avir was the air force of the Haganah and the forerunner of the Israeli Air Force.-Founding:The Sherut Avir was founded in November 1947, just two weeks prior to the passing of the 1947 UN Partition Plan which proposed the division of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.It was at...

, the air wing of the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

, the Israeli Air Force was officially formed on May 28, 1948, shortly after Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 declared statehood and found itself under immediate attack. At first, it was assembled from a hodge-podge collection of civilian aircraft commandeered or donated and converted to military use. A variety of obsolete and surplus ex-World War II combat aircraft were quickly sourced by various means – both legal and illegal – to supplement this fleet. The backbone of the IAF consisted of 25 Avia S-199
Avia S-199
|-See also:-External links: *** with more pictures and further information...

s (purchased from Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, essentially Czechoslovak-built Messerschmitt Bf 109
Messerschmitt Bf 109
The Messerschmitt Bf 109, often called Me 109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid 1930s...

s) and 62 Supermarine Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

 LF Mk IXEs. 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 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 its independence.

Israel's new fighter arm first went into action on May 29, 1948, assisting the efforts to halt the Egyptian advance from Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 northwards. Four newly arrived Avia S-199s, flown by Lou Lenart, Modi Alon
Modi Alon
Mordechai "Modi" Alon was an Israeli fighter pilot who with the formation of the Israeli Air Force in May 1948, assumed command of its first fighter squadron...

, Ezer Weizman
Ezer Weizman
' was the seventh President of Israel, first elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1998. Before the presidency, Weizman was commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.-Biography:...

 and Eddie Cohen, struck Egyptian forces near Isdud. Although damage was minimal, two aircraft were lost and Cohen killed, the attack nevertheless achieved its goal and the Egyptians stopped. The Israeli Air Force scored its first aerial victories on June 3, when Modi Alon, flying Avia D.112, shot down a pair of Egyptian Air Force DC-3s which had just bombed Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. The first dogfight against enemy fighters took place a few days later, on June 8, when Gideon Lichtaman shot down an Egyptian Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

. As the war progressed, more and more aircraft were procured, including Boeing B-17s, Bristol Beaufighter
Bristol Beaufighter
The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter, often referred to as simply the Beau, was a British long-range heavy fighter modification of the Bristol Aeroplane Company's earlier Beaufort torpedo bomber design...

s, de Havilland Mosquito
De Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

es and P-51D Mustangs
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

, marking a shift in the balance of power.

The Israeli Air Force played an important part in Operation Kadesh, Israel's part in the 1956 Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

. At the launch of the operation, on October 29, Israeli P-51D Mustangs
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

 severed telephone lines in the Sinai, some using their propellor blades, while 16 IAF DC-3s escorted by fighters dropped Israeli paratroopers behind Egyptian lines at the Mitla Pass and Et-Tur.

The Six-Day War

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
Operation Focus
Operation Focus was the opening airstrike by Israel at the start of the Six-Day War in 1967. It is sometimes referred to as "Sinai Air Strike" since the focus was primarily on airfields around the Sinai Peninsula. At 07:45 on June 5, 1967, the Israeli Air Force under Maj. Gen...

, 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
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 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
Syrian Air Force
The Syrian Air Force is the Aviation branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It was established in 1948.-History:The end of World War II led to a withdrawal of the United Kingdom and France from the Middle East, and this included a withdrawal from Syria...

 and Jordanian air forces as well, striking as far as Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. After six days of fighting Israel claimed a total of 452 Arab aircraft destroyed, of which 49 were aerial victories.

The War of Attrition

Shortly after the end of the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, Egypt initiated the War of Attrition
War of Attrition
The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

, 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. On July 30, 1970, the tension peaked: An IAF ambush resulted in a large scale air brawl
Operation Rimon 20
Rimon 20 was the code name of a planned aerial battle which pitted the Israeli Air Force against Soviet fighter pilots stationed in Egypt during the War of Attrition. In the engagement, which took place on July 30, 1970, five Soviet flown MiG-21s were downed by Israeli F-4 Phantoms and Mirage IIIs...

 between IAF planes and MiGs flown by Soviet pilots – five MiG
Mig
-Industry:*MiG, now Mikoyan, a Russian aircraft corporation, formerly the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau*Metal inert gas welding or MIG welding, a type of welding using an electric arc and a shielding gas-Business and finance:...

s 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 admitting losing only four aircraft to Arab fighters.

Yom Kippur War

During the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 of October 1973, the Israeli Air Force shot down 334 enemy warplanes in air-to-air combat for the loss of only five of its own. A further 180 Arab aircraft were shot down or lost due to circumstances other than aerial combat. The IAF lost 104 aircraft, nearly all due to anti aircraft artillery or surface-to-air missile fire. These included the medium range SA-6 mobile SAM batteries and point defence systems such as the short range Shilka
ZSU-23-4
The ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" is a lightly armored, self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system . ZSU stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka , meaning "anti-aircraft self-propelled mount". The "23" signifies the bore diameter in millimeters. The "4" signifies the number of gun barrels. It...

 radar guided SPAAG and the SA-7 Strela MANPADS (employed by Egyptian infantry). Older but longer range and still very dangerous SA-2
S-75 Dvina
The S-75 Dvina is a Soviet-designed, high-altitude, command guided, surface-to-air missile system...

 and SA-3
S-125
The Isayev S-125 Neva/Pechora Soviet surface-to-air missile system was designed to complement the S-25 and S-75. It has a shorter effective range and lower engagement altitude than either of its predecessors and also flies slower, but due to its two-stage design it is more effective against more...

 anti aircraft missile batteries provided additional air defense coverage. Nevertheless, throughout the war, the IAF managed to assist IDF ground forces, and kept up strikes on targets in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. As the war progressed, the IAF regained air supremacy by adopting new tactics and upgrading its ECM
Electronic countermeasures
An electronic countermeasure is an electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared or lasers. It may be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy...

 capabilities.

Growth (1973–1982)

Since the war most of Israel's military aircraft have been obtained from the United States. Among these are the F-4 Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

, A-4 Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

, F-15 Eagle
F-15 Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights...

 and F-16 Fighting Falcon
F-16 Fighting Falcon
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...

. The Israeli Air Force has also operated a number of domestically-produced types such as the IAI Nesher
IAI Nesher
The Israel Aircraft Industries Nesher is the Israeli version of the Dassault Mirage 5 multi-role fighter aircraft...

, and later, the more advanced IAI Kfir
IAI Kfir
The Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir is an Israeli-built all-weather, multirole combat aircraft based on a modified Dassault Mirage 5 airframe, with Israeli avionics and an Israeli-made version of the General Electric J79 turbojet engine.-Background:...

, which were unauthorised derivatives of the French Dassault Mirage 5
Dassault Mirage 5
The Dassault Mirage 5 is a supersonic attack aircraft designed in France by Dassault Aviation during the 1960s, and manufactured in France and a number of other countries. It was derived from Dassault's popular Mirage III fighter, and spawned several variants of its own.-Early development:The...

. The Kfir was adapted to utilize a more powerful US engine, produced under license in Israel.

On June 7, 1981 eight IAF F-16A fighters covered by six F-15A jets carried out Operation Opera
Operation Opera
Operation Babylon was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on June 7, 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, Iraq....

 to destroy the Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osiraq. Among the pilots that took part in the attack was the late Colonel Ilan Ramon
Ilan Ramon
Ilan Ramon was a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, and later the first Israeli astronaut....

, Israel's first astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

.

1982 Lebanon War and its aftermath

Prior to the 1982 Lebanon War
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

, Syria, with the help of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, had built up an overlapping network of surface-to-air missiles in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

's Beqaa Valley
Beqaa Valley
The Beqaa Valley is a fertile valley in east Lebanon. For the Romans, the Beqaa Valley was a major agricultural source, and today it remains Lebanon’s most important farming region...

. On June 9, 1982 the Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Mole Cricket 19
Operation Mole Cricket 19
Operation Mole Cricket 19 was a suppression of enemy air defenses campaign launched by the Israeli Air Force against Syrian targets on June 9, 1982, at the outset of the 1982 Lebanon War. The operation was the first time in history that a Western air force successfully destroyed a Soviet-built...

, crippling the Syrian air defence array. In subsequent aerial battles against the Syrian Air Force
Syrian Air Force
The Syrian Air Force is the Aviation branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It was established in 1948.-History:The end of World War II led to a withdrawal of the United Kingdom and France from the Middle East, and this included a withdrawal from Syria...

, 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
AH-1 Cobra
The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a two-bladed, single engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It shares a common engine, transmission and rotor system with the older UH-1 Iroquois...

 helicopter gunships destroyed dozens of Syrian armored fighting vehicles and other ground targets, including some T-72
T-72
The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1970. It is developed directly from Obyekt-172, and shares parallel features with the T-64A...

 main battle tank
Main battle tank
A main battle tank , also known as a battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the heavy direct fire role of many modern armies. They were originally conceived to replace the light, medium, heavy and super-heavy tanks. Development was spurred onwards in the Cold War with the development...

s.

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
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. On October 1, 1985, In response to a PLO terrorist attack
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 which murdered three Israeli civilians in Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, the Israeli air force carried out Operation Wooden Leg
Operation Wooden Leg
Operation Wooden Leg was an attack by Israel on the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Hammam al-Shatt, Tunisia, 12 miles from the capital of Tunis. It took place on October 1, 1985. Taking place 1,280 miles away, this was the furthest operation from Israel undertaken by the...

. The strike involved the bombing of PLO Headquarters in Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

, 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
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

. As a result, PLO headquarters and barracks were either destroyed or damaged.

1990s and beyond

Many of the IAF's electronics and weapons systems are developed and built in Israel by Israel Military Industries
Israel Military Industries
Israel Weapons Industries , formerly the "Magen" division of the Israel Military Industries Ltd. is an Israeli firearms manufacturer. In 2005, the Small Arms Division of IMI was privatized....

, Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit
Elbit Systems
Elbit Systems Ltd. is one of the world's largest defense electronics manufacturers and integrators. Established in 1967, and based in Haifa, Israel, Elbit employs 11,000 people worldwide....

, 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
AH-64 Apache
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. The Apache was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the...

 helicopter gunship and started equipping its aircraft with the Rafael Python 4, Popeye, and Derby missiles.

During the first Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 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 (Identify Foe or Friend) transponder codes from the United States, however, kept the IAF grounded while Coalition air assets and Patriot missile batteries supplied by the U.S. and the Netherlands sought to deal with the Scuds.

In 1991, the IAF carried out Operation Solomon
Operation Solomon
Operation Solomon was a 1991 covert Israeli military operation to take Ethiopian Jews to Israel.In 1991, the sitting Ethiopian government of Mengistu Haile Mariam was close to being toppled with the recent military successes of Eritrean and Tigrean rebels, threatening Ethiopia with dangerous...

 which brought Ethiopian Jews
Beta Israel
Beta Israel Israel, Ge'ez: ቤተ እስራኤል - Bēta 'Isrā'ēl, modern Bēte 'Isrā'ēl, EAE: "Betä Ǝsraʾel", "Community of Israel" also known as Ethiopian Jews , are the names of Jewish communities which lived in the area of Aksumite and Ethiopian Empires , nowadays divided between Amhara and Tigray...

 to Israel.

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
AH-64 Apache
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. The Apache was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the...

, 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
Israel Military Industries
Israel Weapons Industries , formerly the "Magen" division of the Israel Military Industries Ltd. is an Israeli firearms manufacturer. In 2005, the Small Arms Division of IMI was privatized....

.

The Israeli Air Force took an extensive part in IDF operations during the al-Aqsa Intifada
Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000...

, including the controversial targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

s of Palestinian militant leaders, most notably Salah Shakhade, Ahmed Yassin
Ahmed Yassin
Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin was a founder of Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian paramilitary organization and political party. Yassin also served as the spiritual leader of the organization...

 and Abed al-Aziz Rantissi. While this policy was criticized due to the collateral damage
Collateral damage
Collateral damage is damage to people or property that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. The phrase is prevalently used as an euphemism for civilian casualties of a military action.-Etymology:...

 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
Civilian casualty ratio
In armed conflicts, the civilian casualty ratio is the ratio of civilian casualties to combatant casualties, or total casualties...

 of 1:30, or one civilian casualty for every thirty combatant casualties, in its airstrikes on militants in the Palestinian territories
Israeli targeted killings
In the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israel Defense Forces use the term "focused foiling" against those it considers proven to have intentions of performing a specific act of violence in the very near future or to be linked indirectly with several acts of violence , thus raising...

. Commentators have noted that, "No army in history has ever had a better ratio of combatants to civilians killed in a comparable setting".

2006 Lebanon War

The IAF played a critical role in the 2006 Lebanon War. IAF strikes – mainly, though not exclusively, in southern Lebanon
Southern Lebanon
Southern Lebanon is the geographical area of Lebanon comprising the South Governorate and the Nabatiye Governorate. These two entities were divided from the same province in the early 1990s...

 – 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 Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian-supplied medium- and long-range missile launchers
Transporter erector launcher
A transporter erector launcher is a vehicle with an integrated prime mover that can carry, elevate to firing position and launch one or more missiles. Such vehicles exist for both surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles...

 in just 34 minutes. Widespread condemnation
International reactions to the 2006 Qana airstrike
International reactions to the 2006 Qana airstrike, which saw the greatest loss of civilian life in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, twenty eight deaths with thirteen missing, largely involved the condemnation of Israel by many countries around the globe, bringing about a supposed 48 hours...

 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
CH-53 Sea Stallion
The CH-53 Sea Stallion is the most common name for the Sikorsky S-65 family of heavy-lift transport helicopters. Originally developed for use by the United States Marine Corps, it is also in service with Germany, Iran, Israel, and Mexico...

 helicopter on the last day of the war, killing five crew members. Israeli aircraft also shot down three of Hezbollah's Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian-made aerial drones
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

 during the conflict.

Operation Cast Lead and recent activities

In September 2007, the Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Orchard
Operation Orchard
Operation Orchard was an Israeli airstrike on a nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria carried out just after midnight on September 6, 2007. The White House and Central Intelligence Agency later confirmed that American intelligence had also indicated the site was a nuclear facility...

, destroying a Syrian nuclear reactor. During Operation Cast Lead (2008–2009), Israel Air Force had a main role in destroying Hamas facilities and targets in the Gaza Strip, carrying out more than 2,360 air strikes.

According to a CBS news
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 report, in January 2009 Israeli planes struck a convoy of trucks in Sudan that was headed for Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and carrying weapons apparently meant for the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. 17 trucks had been bombed and 39 smugglers had been killed in the strike. 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 the Palestinian Hamas. According to the Sudanese Foreign Minister it was an Israeli attack.

Organization


Administrative organization

  • 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
    • Shaldag
      Shaldag Unit
      Shaldag , also known as Special Air-Ground Designating Team and Unit 5101, is an elite Israeli Air Force commando unit.- History :...

       – air force special operations unit
    • Unit 669
      Unit 669
      669 is the Israel Defense Forces heliborne medevac extraction unit, subordinate to the Special Air Forces Command of the Israeli Air Force. It is considered one of the IDF's premier elite units.-History:...

       – medevac
      MEDEVAC
      Medical evacuation, often termed Medevac or Medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to the wounded being evacuated from the battlefield or to injured patients being evacuated from the scene of an accident to receiving medical facilities using...

       extraction unit
  • Air Defense Command
    • Northern Air Defense Regiment
    • Central Air Defense Regiment
    • Southern Air Defense Regiment (including Air Defense School)

Operational Organization

  • Ramat David Airbase
    Ramat David Airbase
    Ramat David Israeli Air Force Base is one of three principal airbases of the Israeli Air Force, located southeast of Haifa, close to kibbutz Ramat David and Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley...

     (Wing 1)
    • 109 "Valley" Squadron
    • 110 "Knights of North Squadron" Squadron
      110 Squadron (Israel)
      The 110 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Knights of The North Squadron, is an F-16C fighter squadron based at Ramat David Airbase.-References:...

    • 117 "First Jet" Squadron
      117 Squadron (Israel)
      The 117 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the First Jet Squadron, is an F-16C fighter squadron based at Ramat David Airbase. The squadron operated Israel's first jet aircraft, the Gloster Meteor, flying the T7, F8 and FR9 variants....

    • 193 "Defenders of the West" Squadron
      193 Squadron (Israel)
      The 193 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force , also known as the Maritime Helicopters Squadron, is an AS565 Panther helicopter squadron based at either Ramat David Airbase or Palmachim Airbase.-References:...

  • Sdot Micha (Wing 2)
    • 150 Squadron
    • 199 Squadron
    • 248 Squadron
  • Hatzor Airbase
    Hatzor Airbase
    Hatzor Israeli Air Force Base , also titled Kanaf 4 is an Israeli Air Force military air base, located in central Israel, near kibbutz Hatzor after which it is named...

     (Wing 4)
    • 101 "First Combat" Squadron
    • 105 "Scorpion" Squadron
  • Hatzerim Airbase (Air Force Base 6)
    • 69 "Hammers" Squadron
    • 102 "Flying Tiger" Squadron
    • IAF Aerobatic Team
      IAF Aerobatic Team
      The IAF Aerobatic Team is the aerobatic display team of the Israeli Air Force. Until summer 2010 the team flew the IAI Tzukit , a variant of the French Fouga Magister manufactured under license by Israel Aerospace Industries...

    • 107 "Knights of the Orange Tail" Squadron
    • 123 "Desert Birds" Squadron
      123 Squadron (Israel)
      The 123 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the The Desert Birds Squadron , is a helicopter squadron of S-70A Black Hawks based at Hatzerim Airbase.-References:...

    • Air Force Infantry School
  • Tel Nof Airbase
    Tel Nof Airbase
    Tel Nof Israeli Air Force , also known as Air Force Base 8, is one of three principal airbases of the Israeli Air Force. Tel Nof is located near Rehovot, Israel.-History:...

     (Air Force Base 8)
    • 106 "Spearhead" Squadron
    • 114 "Night Leaders" Squadron
      114 Squadron (Israel)
      The 114 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Night Leaders Squadron, is a helicopter squadron of CH-53-2000 Sea Stallions based at Tel Nof Airbase.-References:...

    • 118 "Nocturnal Birds of Prey" Squadron
      118 Squadron (Israel)
      The 118 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Nocturnal Birds of Prey Squadron, is a helicopter squadron of CH-53-2000 Sea Stallions based at Tel Nof Airbase.-References:...

    • 133 "Knight of the Twin Tail" Squadron
      133 Squadron (Israel)
      The 133 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Knights of The Twin Tail, is an F-15A/B/D fighter squadron based at Tel Nof Airbase.-References:...

    • 210 "Eitan" Squadron
    • 601 Squadron
      601 Squadron (Israel)
      601 Squadron, also known in Israel as Manat , is the Israeli Air Force unit responsible for flight and weapons testing, airframe modification and avionics integration....

       (Flight Test Center)
    • Unit 555 "Sky Crows" (electronic warfare unit)
  • Ovda Airbase
    Ovda International Airport
    Ovda Airport , is a military and civilian airport in Israel, and the country's second international airport, located in the south of the country about north of the city of Eilat...

     (Air Force Base 10)
    • 115 "Flying Dragon" Squadron
      115 Squadron (Israel)
      115 Squadron, also known as the Flying Dragon or Red Squadron, is the Israeli Air Force's aggressor squadron. Based at Ovda, it is the sole IAF squadron to operate fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and also ground-based assets.-Formation:...

    • Aviation Professions School
    • Air Force Officers School
  • Sde Dov Airbase
    Sde Dov Airport
    Sde Dov Airport , also known as Dov Hoz Airport is an airport located in Tel Aviv, Israel which mainly handles scheduled domestic flights to Eilat and , northern Israel , and the Israeli Golan Heights. It is Tel Aviv's largest airport and the second largest in the area, after Ben Gurion...

     (Wing 15)
    • 100 "Flying Camel" Squadron
      100 Squadron (Israel)
      The 100 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Flying Camel Squadron, is a Beech 200 squadron based at Sde Dov Airport.-References:...

    • 135 "Kings of the Air" Squadron
      135 Squadron (Israel)
      The 135 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Light Transport Squadron, is a Beech Super King Air 200 and Beech A36 Bonanza squadron based at Sde Dov Airport.-References:...

    • 249 "Elad" Squadron
  • Haifa Airbase
    Haifa Airport
    Haifa International Airport is an Israeli airport located in Haifa. It is located to the east of the city, close to Kishon Port and Israel Shipyards and mainly serves civilian flights, with some military usage. Most passenger flights passing through the airport are domestic operations to Eilat...

     (Air Force Base 21)
    • Technical Professions School
    • IAF Technological College
  • Ramon Airbase
    Ramon Airbase
    Ramon Airbase is an Israeli Air Force base southwest of Beersheba, near the town of Mitzpe Ramon. Also titled Kanaf 25 , it was formerly known as Matred. It was built as the result of joint Israeli and US government funding as part of the IAF's redeployment out of its bases in the Sinai after the...

     (Wing 25)
    • 113 "Hornet" Squadron
    • 119 "Bat" Squadron
      119 Squadron (Israel)
      The 119 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Bat Squadron, is an F-16I fighter squadron based at Ramon Airbase.-References:...

    • 190 "Magic Touch" Squadron
      190 Squadron (Israel)
      The 190 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Magic Touch Squadron, is an AH-64A Apache helicopter squadron based at Ramon Airbase.-References:...

    • 201 "The One" Squadron
      201 Squadron (Israel)
      The 201 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as The One, is an F-16I fighter squadron based at Ramon Airbase.-See also:*List of Israeli Air Force aircraft squadrons*Operation Priha*Operation Doogman 5...

    • 253 "Negev" Squadron
      253 Squadron (Israel)
      253 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Negev Squadron, is an F-16I fighter squadron based at Ramon Airbase.-References:...

  • Nevatim Airbase (Air Force Base 28)
    • 103 "Elephants" Squadron
      103 Squadron (Israel)
      The 103 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Elephants Squadron, is a C-130E and KC-130H squadron based at Nevatim Airbase.-References:...

    • 116 "Defenders of the South" Squadron
      116 Squadron (Israel)
      116 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the The Defenders of the South Squadron , is an F-16A/B fighter squadron based at Nevatim Airbase.-References:...

    • 120 "Desert Giants" Squadron
      120 Squadron (Israel)
      The 120 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Desert Giants , is a Boeing 707 and IAI 1224 Westwind squadron based at Nevatim Airbase.-References:...

    • 122 "Nahshon" Squadron
      122 Squadron (Israel)
      The 122 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Nahshon Squadron , is a G550 squadron based at Nevatim Airbase....

    • 131 "Knights of the Yellow Bird" Squadron
      131 Squadron (Israel)
      The 131 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Yellow Bird Squadron, is a C-130E and KC-130H squadron based at Nevatim Airbase.-References:...

    • 140 "Golden Eagle" Squadron
      140 Squadron (Israel)
      The 140 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Golden Eagle Squadron, is an F-16A/B fighter squadron based at Nevatim Airbase.-References:...

  • Palmachim Airbase
    Palmachim Airbase
    Palmachim Air Force Base is an Israeli military facility and spaceport located near the cities of Rishon LeZion and Yavne on the Mediterranean Sea. It is named after nearby Kibbutz Palmachim on the Mediterranean shore....

     (Air Force Base 30)
    • 124 "Rolling Sword" Squadron
      124 Squadron (Israel)
      The 124 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Rolling Sword Squadron, is a helicopter squadron of S-70A and UH-60 Black Hawks based at Palmachim Airbase.-References:...

    • 151 Squadron (Missile Testing Squadron)
    • 160 "First Helicopters Gunships" Squadron
    • 166 "Spark" Squadron
      166 Squadron (Israel)
      The 166 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Spark Squadron, is a Elbit Hermes 450 squadron based at Palmachim Airbase.-References:...

    • 200 "First UAV" Squadron
      200 Squadron (Israel)
      The 200 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the UAV Squadron, is a IAI Heron squadron based at Palmachim Airbase.-References:...


Current

Note that multiple sources provide different numbers:
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:26%;"|Aircraft
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:13%;"|Origin
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:15%;"|Type
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:19%;"|Versions
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:9%;"|In service
(IISS / INSS)
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:9%;"|In service
(Flightglobal)
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:19%;"|In service
(Other sources)
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...


|-
| rowspan = "4"| Boeing F-15 Eagle ||rowspan="4"| ||rowspan="4"| air superiority fighter ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| F-15A "Baz" ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| 27 ||rowspan="2" style="background:#efefef; color:black"| } 42 ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| ||
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
|F-15C "Baz" || 17 ||
|-
|F-15B "Baz" || 7 ||rowspan="2"| } 16 ||
|-
|F-15D "Baz" || 11 ||
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle
F-15E Strike Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather multirole fighter, derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. The F-15E was designed in the 1980s for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic warfare aircraft. United States Air Force F-15E Strike...

 || || strike fighter || F-15I "Ra'am" ||25 || 25 ||
|-
| rowspan = "5"| General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon ||rowspan="5"| ||rowspan="5"| mulitirole fighter || F-16A "Netz" || 90 ||rowspan="3"| } 149 || ≤ 103
|-
|F-16B "Netz" || 16 || ≤ 22
|-
|F-16D "Barak" || 49 || ≤ 54
|-
| style = "background:#efefef; color:black"|F-16C "Barak" ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| 52 ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| 76 ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| ≤ 81
|-
|F-16I "Sufa" || 102 || 100 || 101
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Trainer aircraft
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Grob G-120 || || trainer aircraft ||G-120AI "Snunit" || 17 || 17 || 27
|-
| Beechcraft T-6 Texan II || || trainer aircraft || T-6A "Efroni" || 20 || 20 || ||
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk || || ground attack / trainer|| TA-4H/J "Ayit" || 26 || 20 || 20
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Transport
Military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in...

 / Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 / Aerial firefighting
Aerial firefighting
Aerial firefighting is the use of aircraft and other aerial resources to combat wildfires. The types of aircraft used include fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Smokejumpers and rappellers are also classified as aerial firefighters, delivered to the fire by parachute from a variety of fixed-wing...

 / Utility
Utility aircraft
A utility aircraft is a general-purpose light plane or helicopter, usually used for transporting people or freight, but also for other duties when a more specialised aircraft is not required or available....

 / Signals intelligence / Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol is the task of monitoring areas of water. Generally conducted by military and law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol is usually aimed at identifying human activities....

 / AEW

|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Air Tractor AT-802
Air Tractor AT-802
|-Specifications :-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2003. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.* Keijsper, Gerard...

 || || aerial firefighting || AT-802F || – || – ||7
|-
| Beechcraft Bonanza
Beechcraft Bonanza
The Beechcraft Bonanza is an American general aviation aircraft introduced in 1947 by The Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. , it is still being produced by Hawker Beechcraft, and has been in continuous production longer than any other airplane in history...

 || || utility || A-36 "Khofit" ||22 || – || 22
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| rowspan = "2"| Beechcraft Super King Air
Beechcraft Super King Air
The Beechcraft Super King Air family is part of a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation . The King Air line comprises a number of model series that fall into two families: the Model 90 series, Model 100 series , Model 200 series and Model 300 series...

 (C-12 Huron) ||rowspan="2"| || utility / transport / trainer || B-200/T/CT "Tzofit" || rowspan="2"| } 29 || 22 || 22
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
|| / / || RC-12D/K "Kookiya" || 7 ||7
|-
| IAI SeaScan
IAI Westwind
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Frawley, Gerald. "IAI Westwind". The International Directory of Civil Aircraft 1997/98. Fyshwick ACT: Aerospace Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-875671-26-9....

 || || maritime patrol || 1124N "Shahaf" || 3 || 3 || 3
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| rowspan = "2"| Gulfstream G550 ||rowspan="2"| || || G500 "Nahshon-Shavit" || 3 || 3 ||
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| || G550 "Nahshon-Eitam" || 3 || 4 ||
|-
| rowspan = "3"| Lockheed C-130 Hercules ||rowspan="3"| ||rowspan="2"| tactical transport || C-130E "Qarnaf" || 5 ||rowspan="2"| } 11 ||rowspan="2"| } 12
|-
| C-130H "Qarnaf" || 2
|-
| aerial refueling || KC-130H "Qarnaf" || 5 || 5 || 3
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| rowspan = "2"| Boeing 707–320
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

 ||rowspan="2"| || heavy transport ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| 707 "Re'em" ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| 9 ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"| 2 ||style="background:#efefef; color:black"|
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
|aerial refueling || KC-707 "Saknai" || 4 || 6 || 8
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Helicopters
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Eurocopter Panther || || maritime patrol || AS-565SA "Atalef" || 7 || 6 || 5
|-
| Bell AH-1 Cobra || || attack hellicopter || AH-1 "Tzefa" || 33 || 43 ||
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| rowspan = "2"| Boeing AH-64 Apache ||rowspan="2"| ||rowspan="2"| attack hellicopter || AH-64A "Peten" || 30 || 30 || 27
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
|AH-64D "Saraph" || 18 || 17 || 17
|-
|| Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion || || heavy transport || CH-53D "Yas'ur 2025" || 38 || 23 ||
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
|| Sikorsky S-70
Sikorsky S-70
The Sikorsky S-70 is a medium transport/utility helicopter family manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. It was developed for the U.S. Army in the 1970s, winning a competition to be designated the UH-60 Blackhawk and spawning a large family in U.S. military service...

 (UH-60 Black Hawk
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
The UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky submitted the S-70 design for the United States Army's Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System competition in 1972...

) || || tactical transport || S-70A-50/55 / UH-60A/L "Yanshuf" || 49 || 48 || 49
|-
| Bell 206
Bell 206
The Bell 206 is a family of two-bladed, single- or twin-engine helicopters, manufactured by Bell Helicopter at its Mirabel, Quebec plant. Originally developed as the Bell YOH-4 for the United States Army's Light Observation Helicopter program, the 206 failed to be selected...

 (OH-58 Kiowa) || || light transport / trainer || 206B "Saifan" || 34 || 18 || 9
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Unmanned aerial vehicle
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

s

|-
| IAI Eitan
IAI Eitan
|-See also:...

 || || ||Heron-TP "Eitan" || + || + || +
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| IAI Heron
IAI Heron
The IAI Heron is a Medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the Malat division of Israel Aerospace Industries. It is capable of Medium Altitude Long Endurance operations of up to 52 hours' duration at up to 35,000 feet...

 || || || Heron-1 "Shoval" || + || + || +
|-
| Elbit Hermes 450
Elbit Hermes 450
-Operators: *In June 2008, Azerbaijan ordered ten Hermes 450, choosing it over other drone models because of its "'invisibility' for the enemy's anti-aircraft defense." On September 12, 2011, a UAV was reportedly shot down by the air defense arm of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army over the...

 || || Tactical UAV || Hermes 450S "Zik" || + || + || +
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| BlueBird SpyLite || || Mini UAV || SkyLite B || – || + || –
|}

Future


! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:26%;"|Aircraft
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:13%;"|Origin
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:15%;"|Type
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:15%;"|Versions
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc; width:31%;"|Notes
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="6" | Fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...


|-
| Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II || Multinational || stealth multirole fighter|| F-35I ||20 pending delivery (+ option for another 55).
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="6" | Trainer aircraft
|-
| Alenia Aermacchi M-346 || || transonic jet trainer || ? ||rowspan=2| 30 aircraft. Final selection expected in 2012.
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| KAI T-50 Golden Eagle || || supersonic jet trainer || ?
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="6" | Transport
Military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in...

 / Utility aircraft
Utility aircraft
A utility aircraft is a general-purpose light plane or helicopter, usually used for transporting people or freight, but also for other duties when a more specialised aircraft is not required or available....


|-
| Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules || || tactical transport || C-130J-30 "Shimshon" || 3 ordered, expected in 2013
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Boeing 707
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

 || || aerial refueling || KC-707 "Saknai" || 1 bought in order to be converted into tanker.
|-
| Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey || || tiltrotor transport || ? || Under evaluation.
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="6" | Helicopters
|-
| Boeing AH-64 Apache  || || attack helicopter || AH-64D "Saraph" || Total of 10. Four AH-64A's to be upgraded.
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk  || || tactical transport || AH-60 Battlehawk || Total of 18.
|-
| Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion  || || heavy transport || CH-53D "Yas'ur 2025" || 1 will be rebuilt and upgraded to 2025 standard.
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Sikorsky CH-53K Super Stallion  || || heavy transport || ? || Pending evaluation.
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="6" | Unmanned aerial vehicle
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

s

|-
| Elbit Hermes 900
Elbit Hermes 900
-Orders:-External links :**, Elbit Systems*, Defense Update*, Israeli-weapons.com...

 || || || ? || 3 systems to be provided soon.
|- style="background:#efefef; color:black"
| Aeronautics Defense Orbiter || || Mini UAV || ? || Selected 2011.
|}

Pilot selection and training



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
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 Giora Epstein
Giora Epstein
Colonel Giora "Hawkeye" Epstein , today Giora Even , is a retired colonel in the Israeli Air Force and a jet-to-jet fighter ace, credited with 17 kills, 16 of which were against Egyptian jets, making Epstein the Ace of Aces of modern, supersonic fighter jets...

, 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
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

.

Although women had served as pilots during the Israeli War of Independence
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 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
Ezer Weizman
' was the seventh President of Israel, first elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1998. Before the presidency, Weizman was commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.-Biography:...

, 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
Roni Zuckerman
The first female jet fighter pilot for the Israeli Air Force, Roni Zuckerman, received her wings in 2001. Zuckerman is the granddaughter of Zivia Lubetkin and Icchak Cukierman whose nom de guerre was "Antek". Her grandparents were among the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II...

, the first jet fighter pilot in IAF history.

Ranks

IAF ranks are identical to other Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces have a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the Mandate period to protect the Yishuv...

 except for the use of silver against a dark blue background.

Officers

Insignia
Title Segen Mishne Segen Seren Rav Seren Sgan Aluf Aluf Mishne Tat Aluf Aluf
Aluf
Aluf is the term used for General and Admiral in the Israel Defense Forces . In addition to the Aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word...

1
Rav Aluf 2
U.S equivalent Second
Lieutenant
First
Lieutenant
Captain Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

Lieutenant
Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

Colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

Brigadier
General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

Major
General
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

Lieutenant
General
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...


1 - Commander of the Israeli Air Force

2 - IDF Chief of General Staff, rarely an air force officer

List of IAF Commanders

  • Yisrael Amir
    Yisrael Amir
    Lt. Col. Yisrael Amir was the first commander of the Israeli Air Force. Amir was born in Russia, moving to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1923. Amir then began his military career by joining the newly created Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary group...

     (May 1948 – July 1948)
  • Aharon Remez
    Aharon Remez
    Aluf Aharon Remez was an Israeli civil servant, politician and diplomat, and the second commander of the Israeli Air Force.-Biography:Born in Tel Aviv in 1919, Remez's father David was Israel's first Minister of Transportation. He joined the Haganah in 1936. Three years later he was sponsored by...

     (July 1948 – December 1950)
  • Shlomo Shamir
    Shlomo Shamir
    Shlomo Shamir was the third Commander of the Israeli Navy , and the first Israeli Navy Commander to receive the rank of Aluf. He was the third Commander of the Israeli Air Force .- Biography :...

     (December 1950 – August 1951)
  • Haim Laskov (August 1951 – May 1953)
  • Dan Tolkovsky
    Dan Tolkovsky
    Aluf Dan Tolkovsky was the commander of the Israeli Air Force from May 1953 to July 1958. Tolkovsky entered the military in 1943, when the Royal Air Force sent a Jewish unit from Palestine to train at a flight school in Rhodesia ...

     (May 1953 – July 1958)
  • Ezer Weizman
    Ezer Weizman
    ' was the seventh President of Israel, first elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1998. Before the presidency, Weizman was commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.-Biography:...

     (July 1958 – April 1966)
  • Mordechai Hod
    Mordechai Hod
    Aluf Mordechai "Mottie" Hod was the Commander of the Israeli Air Force during the 1967 Six-Day War.- Biography :Hod was born in the British Mandated of Palestine in Kibbutz Degania in 1926...

     (April 1966 – May 1973)
  • Binyamin Peled (May 1973 – October 1977)
  • David Ivri (October 1977 – December 1982)
  • Amos Lapidot
    Amos Lapidot
    Amos Lapidot was the tenth Commander of the Israeli Air Force, a position he held from 1982–1987.-Biography:Born in Kfar Saba in 1934, Lapidot initially enlisted in the IDF Artillery Corps, before eventually joining the nascent Israeli Air Force...

     (December 1982 – September 1987)
  • Avihu Ben-Nun
    Avihu Ben-Nun
    -Bibliography:*...

     (September 1987 – January 1992)
  • Herzl Bodinger (January 1992 – July 1996)
  • Eitan Ben Eliyahu
    Eitan Ben Eliyahu
    Aluf Eitan Ben Eliyahu is a retired Major General in the Israel Defense Forces and was the Commander of the Israeli Air Force .-Early life and military career:...

     (July 1996 – April 2000)
  • Dan Halutz
    Dan Halutz
    ' is an Israeli Air Force Lt. General and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and commander of the Israeli Air Force. Halutz was appointed as Chief of Staff on June 1, 2005. On January 17, 2007 he announced his resignation. He has a degree in economics. He was born to a Mizrahi...

     (April 2000 – April 2004)
  • Elyezer Shkedy (April 2004 – May 2008)
  • Ido Nehoshtan
    Ido Nehoshtan
    Aluf Ido Nehoshtan, also Nehushtan is a general in the Israel Defense Forces and the current Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force. He is the former head of the Planning Directorate...

     (May 2008 –)


Insignia

The insignia of the Israeli Air Force is a blue Star of David
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...

 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.

See also

  • List of flying aces in Arab–Israeli wars
  • Post–World War II air-to-air combat losses
  • Israeli Air Defense Network
    Israeli Air Defense Network
    The Israeli Air Defense Command is the Israel Defense Forces unit responsible for the surface front of Israel's air defense, complementing the air defense provided by Israeli Air Force squadrons...

  • Nuclear weapons and Israel
    Nuclear weapons and Israel
    Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to have developed nuclear weapons and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty , the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea...

  • Talpiot program
    Talpiot program
    Talpiot program is an elite Israel Defense Forces training program for young people who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability in the sciences, physics and mathematics. Graduates of the Talpiot program pursue higher education while serving in the army, and then utilize their expertise to...


External links

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