Mid-east aces: the Israeli air force today

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The first kill by an F was scored even before the Iran-Iraq war officially began. On September 7, , an Iraqi Mil Mi Hind helicopter an export version of the Soviet Mi attack helicopter was shot down with a mm Vulcan cannon.

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Just six days later, the first AIM kill followed: Major Mohammad-Rez Attaie shot down an Iraqi MiG while he was patrolling an area over which Iraqi reconnaissance aircraft had been especially active in previous days. The most intense periods of air combat were the first two months of the war, which began September After only hours of training, I learned to pitch the nose of my Tomcat up at a degree [angle of attack] in just over a second, turn around, and acquire the opponent either with Sidewinders or the gun. According to retired U.

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Air Force Colonel Ronald Bergquist, a former Middle East specialist, rather than sacrifice their fighter aircraft in combat, both air forces used their fighters as deterrents, in much the same way that the superpowers at the time used their nuclear arsenals. Unlike Israel and Egypt in , he says, Iran and Iraq in had no allies and, unable to replace their losses, had to conserve their fighters. On the other hand, the AIM Phoenix missile was deployed only sporadically at the beginning of the war, and then more frequently in and until the lack of thermal batteries suspended the use of Phoenix missiles in The MiG was not the fighter the Iraqis had hoped for.

It could not outmaneuver any of our fighters and we have had very little respect for them on a one-to-one basis. We were concerned only when facing large numbers of Iraqi MiGs, later during the war. The most impressive thing about the MiG was its ability to rapidly accelerate when we chased them—but it could not outrun an F The Iranians suffered heavy losses in the first few months of the war, forcing them to slow their flight operations to conserve their remaining assets. Under those circumstances, even successful air-to-air engagements had only temporary significance. When Fs were sent up to do battle against the Iraqis, the deployment usually deterred the Iraqis from flying into that area for several weeks.

One or two Iranian Tomcats could force a formation of Iraqi fighters to abort their mission or jettison their ordnance before reaching the target.

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He says the strategy was to use the prized Fs sparingly to keep them safe from Iraqi surface-to-air missiles but to have them ready for any strike force that invaded Iranian airspace. Continue or Give a Gift. Daily Planet. Flight Today. History of Flight.

Virtual Space. Subscribe Current Issue. From This Story. Like this article? Previous Article Tomcat Tribute. Next Article Tales of the F According to Lockheed Martin spokesperson Eric Schnaible, the company modified the F for Israel in three main areas: command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence C4I , electronic warfare, and weapons integration. Initially, the US refused to allow Israeli modifications to the F The compromise reached involved not changing anything inside the aircraft, but allowing the Israelis to add capabilities on top of the existing infrastructure.


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Maintenance of the aircraft is going to be performed in Israel, at the Nevatim base. The threat posed by advanced Russian S series, surface-to-air missile systems applies equally to US allies such as Israel.


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David A. If a missile is shot at it, for example, the F can automatically detect where it came from and the pilot can automatically target that location. After it takes off, it learns more. After sensing danger, the F will then be able to synthesize the information, applying it and sharing it with ground, naval, and air units outside that specific aircraft. The introduction of a unique aircraft like the F will affect the nature of communication and war planning within the IDF. Ephraim Segoli. It is a big challenge. The dichotomy within IAF on the new aircraft is a conflict between efficiency and operational capability, the former necessarily detracting from the reality of the latter.

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The longer you test, the longer it takes to bring an aircraft to operational status. Nine FIs are expected to reach initial operational capability in , according to Brig. While the F can allow IAF to penetrate threats now being developed, Segoli emphasized he sees no current threats the F is capable of attacking alone. Rather, he emphasized the role of the aircraft in deterring those rising threats.

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Mid East Aces: The Israeli Air Force Today

US President Donald Trump implied in a December tweet he may reduce the number of US F purchases, and if that happens, Segoli explained, the value of the F will be further scrutinized in Israel. If cost increases, this might become a problem. Some Israeli experts are already questioning the purchase, not seeing an immediate need for the deep capabilities of the F when considering asymmetric opponents like Hamas and Hezbollah.

The populace is aware that the agreements in place to allow Israel to perform its own maintenance on the aircraft will raise Israeli sustainment costs. Tweets by AirForceMag. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page.

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