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-- Famous IAF Events --

The First IAF Ground Attack

Remains of D-110 Fuselage remains of the IAF Avia S-199, designated ''D-110'' (flown by Eddie Cohen)
(Picture taken from the 101st Warbirds Squadron at

Target: Egyptian column, south of Ashdod
Date: 29 May, 1948
Aircraft: Avia S-199
Pilots: Lou Lenart, Modi Alon, Ezer Weizman and Eddie Cohen

Several alarming reports regarding an Egyptian column of hundreds of vehicles (500-1300) nearing Ashdod were received. The only obstacles which stood between that column and Tel-Aviv (the biggest Jewish city in Israel, then as well as today) were remnants of the Givati Brigade and a destroyed bridge. The IDF issued Operation Order No. 26 to the IAF Command that very same day and ordered an attack in that area (even though the first Avia S-199 fighters which were theoretically air-worthy were not yet tested).

Lou Lenart (the Flight Leader) and Modi Alon were the first to take-off, however due to ignition problems in Eddie Cohen's plane the mission was delayed a little and the four planes left Akir (Ekron, nowadays Tel-Nof) at about 19:45. Each plane was equipped with cannons, machine guns and four 70 Kg bombs. Lenart was unfamiliar with the country and once in the air he quickly realized he didn't know the way to Ashdod. The S-199s had no radios so he used hand signals to indicate that to Alon, who pointed in the proper direction. In order to avoid any enemy fighters the formation flew over the sea (west of the column) and turned east when it reached Ashdod.

All pilots dropped their bombs on the target and strafed local concentrations of enemy forces with the rest of their ammunition, although some of the 20mm cannons jammed after a few shots. Alon landed at 20:05 although upon landing the plane was damaged because the left brake didn't work (the left tire exploded, the wing tip struck the ground), Weizman landed 10 minutes later at 20:15, and Lenart landed at 20:25.

Eddie Cohen's S-199 crashed and he died, probably due to a fatal AA hit. The AA (Anti-Aircraft) fire was very massive and all the pilots encountered it, Lou Lenart's cockpit was even slightly damaged by it. Cohen was in radio contact with base, on his way back he reported that all was OK and that he was about to land but he was not seen from the airfield; instead, an aircraft engulfed in flames was spotted near Hatzor (Qastina). It is thought that Cohen mistook the identification of the airfield and attempted to land in hostile territory.

Despite the loss of one aircraft, the mission was a success: it seems that the attack had a profound psychological effect on the Egyptian forces, and they halted their advance completely. The bridge where they stopped was later named ''Ad Halom'' bridge, meaning ''no further''.

The First IAF Air Victory

First A/A Kill Ground photo of the IAF Avia S-199 pursuing the Egyptian C-47 Dakota

Target: 2 Egyptian C-47 Dakotas
Date: 3 June, 1948
Aircraft: Avia S-199 ''Sakin'' (Knife)
Pilot: Modi Alon

Until that day REAF bombers roamed freely over Israel, but they were rarely seen ever since. Many civilians witnessed the attack which occurred around 19:00 - and so celebrations at the Yarden Hotel (the temporary IAF HQ) and along the coast lasted well into the night; the following day Modi Alon's room was filled with flowers from the thankful residents of Tel-Aviv. Incredibly enough, a picture of the first Dakota was even taken from the ground by one of them!

The First Jet-Vs.-Jet Kill in the Middle-East

Vampire Remains Remains of one of the crashing Vampires

Target: 2 Egyptian Vampires
Date: 1 September, 1955
Aircraft: Meteor FR-9
Pilot: Col. (Res.) Aharon Yoeli (Capt. at the time)
NOTE: Received the Chief-of-Staff's Citation, which was later converted to the Medal of Courage.

The First Defection into Israel by an Arab Plane

Defecting Yak-11 The defecting Yak-11 after landing

Plane: Egyptian Yak-11 (No. 570)
Date: 19 January, 1964
Pilot: Capt. Mahmood Abaas Hilmi
NOTE: Traded in 1976 with the British Air Museum??? for a serviceable T-6 Harvard.

The First International MiG-21 Kill --- The First International Kill by a Mirage III

Gun Hit (Gunsight View) Gun hit sequence (as seen from the Mirage's gunsight)

And here are 3 pictures of Mirage IIICJ No. 159:

Profile Nose and Tail Close-Ups 13 Kill Markings

Date: 14 July (Bastille Day in France), 1966
Pilot: LTG (Res.) Yoram Agmon (Maj. at the time) - Plane No. 159
NOTE: The plane (No. 159) later became the most decorated plane in the IAF, with no less than 13 kills credited to it!

The First Defection into Israel by an Arab Jet Fighter

New Defecting MiG-21 Nowadays: the defecting MiG-21 on-display in the Hatzerim IAF Museum
(© Serge Batoussov - picture taken from

Old Defecting MiG-21 Right after landing at Hatzor AFB: parked in a hangar

Aircraft: Iraqi MiG-21
Date: 16 August, 1966
Pilot: Moonir Redfa
NOTE: The defection of the most advanced Soviet jet fighter at the time to the West - planned and executed by the ''Mossad'' (Israel's intelligence agency), hence the symbolic IAF designation ''007''...

The First Kill by an IAF Air-to-Air Missile

Missile Hit (Gunsight View) Missile hit sequence (as seen from the Mirage's gunsight)

Weapon: ''Yahalom'' (Diamond) AAM
Target: Egyptian MiG-19
Date: 29 November, 1966
Aircraft: Mirage IIICJ ''Shahak'' (Sky/Heavens)
Pilot: Capt. Michael Habber
NOTE: Also destroyed a second MiG-19 with guns.

The Most Bizzare Kill by an IAF Aircraft

Ground Photo of Rockets Ground photo of the A-4 Skyhawk firing 2 A/G rockets

Weapon: The first MiG was actually shot-down with Air-to-Ground Anti-Tank rockets!
Target: 2 Syrian MiG-17
Date: 12 May, 1970
Aircraft: A-4 Skyhawk
Pilot: Col. Ezra Dotan (Baban) (LTC at the time?)
NOTE: The London Daily Express later reported that the IAF used some kind of ''secret armament''...

The First Kill by an Israeli-Made Aircraft

Aircraft: IAI Nesher (Vulture)
Target: Syrian/Egyptian (?) MiG-21
Date: 8 October, 1970
Pilot: LTC Y. (Capt. at the time)

The First International Kill by an F-15 Eagle

Target: Syrian MiG-21
Date: 27 June, 1979
Pilot: LTG (Res.) Moshe (Maj. at the time) - from the ''Twin Tail'' squadron

The kill was made during a 'furball' against 8 Syrian MiG-21s. As it turned out, oppertunity and quick reaction time were (as always) crucial factors in that fight: about a minute later four more MiG-21s were planted in the ground by other IAF aircraft.

It's interesting to note that not only the F-15 had its first kill in this sortie; one of the four latter MiGs was shot-down by an IAI Kfir, flown by Capt. S. from the 101st ''First Combat'' squadron, who supplied air cover for an IAF attack of terrorist targets (which was the catalyst of the entire event) - this was the first kill for the Kfir, as well as his first personal kill.

The First International MiG-25 Kill

Date: 13 February, 1981
Aircraft: F-15 ''Baz'' (Falcon)
Pilot: LTC Benny Tzinker - from the ''Twin Tail'' squadron
NOTE: The MiG-25 was shot-down when it attempted to intercept an IAF photo-recon sortie.

The First International Kill by an F-16 Fighting Falcon

Target: Syrian Mi-8 helicopter
Date: 28 April, 1981
Pilot: Col. Raffi (1st Lt. at the time) - from the ''First Jet'' squadron
NOTE: During this sortie he flew as the wingman of the Squadron Commander, Maj. Ze'ev Raz (there's another account of this affair which mixes up between these names); also, a different version claims that ''Maj. S.'' is the pilot's actual name.

The First International Fighter Kill by an F-16 Fighting Falcon

Target: Syrian MiG-21
Date: 14 July, 1981
Pilot: Col. Amir Nahoomi (Maj. at the time) - also led the second formation in Operation ''Opera''

The Only F-15 Emergency Landing in the World with Only 1 Wing

F-15 Without Right Wing The F-15, seen here after landing safely without its right wing

Date: 1 May, 1983
Pilot: Capt. (Res.) N.

During an air-combat exercise over Nahal Tzin in the Negev region, an A-4 Skyhawk collided with an F-15. The Skyhawk started burning and its pilot immediately ejected himself to safety.

The F-15 pilot didn't realize that the entire right wing of his aircraft was torn off because of the major fuel leak from the plane's right side. After gaining some control with a lot of extreme steering, the pilot noticed that all the systems were actually alright (including hydraulics) and no warning lights were flashing - so he started gliding towards the nearest base (at a distance of about 20 miles), deciding not use use the afterburners for fear of igniting the fuel which leaked from the aircraft.

During the approach, at a speed of 250 knots, the F-15 began to stall downwards and to the right. In a desperate attempt, the pilot ignored his earlier instinct and went to full afterburners in order to gain speed. As a result, the F-15 became steady but touched-down at a speed of 260 knots - too fast even for the landing hook. Like the wing, the landing hook also got ripped; however, this slowed the plane by 100 knots... From that point it was a routine landing with brakes.

The Infamous Results of the Mid-1999 Joint IAF-USN Exercise

F-16D and F/A-18 An Israeli F-16D and a U.S. F/A-18 in Formation, Janurary 1994
(Picture taken from IAF Legendary Aircraft at

Jerusalem Post

Report: IAF whips US pilots in exercise

TEL AVIV (September 24) - A recent joint exercise between the IAF and US Navy Sixth Fleet pilots apparently resulted in a thorough routing of the US pilots, according to the latest edition of Air Force Monthly.

The American-based magazine said the exercise in question took place in the Negev skies and involved engagements between IAF F-16s and US Navy F-14s and F/A-18s.

Quoting Israeli military sources, the magazine said one of the exercises ended with the score of 40:1 in favor of the IAF. The magazine said Israel "downed" 220 aircraft for the loss of just 20 of its own.

It said that the results have not been officially published "to save the reputations of the US Navy pilots."

The magazine did not say when the exercise took place. But security sources said that the dogfights took place about three months ago. They said the exercise was the first time that Israeli pilots actually took part in the maneuvers and didn't just give logistical support. Israeli pilots have also flown with various flight academies as guests or students.

The IAF said it does not give detailed results of training exercises. But air force commanders were said to be incensed by the report. While refusing to confirm or deny the report, military sources said neither Israel or the US had officially released the "scores."

"We showed an arrogance we didn't mean to display," one senior IAF officer said.

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