Women in the IAF

The Early Years

There have been several female pilots in the history of Israeli flight:

Navigator Wings

1st Lt. Sherry from Raanana was the first woman ever to graduate from the combat Flight-Course of the IAF in the jet-age. She received her wings on 31 December, 1998 (the Wings Parade took place at Hatzerim) and thus became the first woman to serve in a full combat capacity within the IDF in the modern era. She was initially posted as an F-16D combat-navigator in the 110th ''Northern Knights'' Squadron at Ramat-David AFB.

Wings Parade Morning Parade, First Year (?)

Currently there are already/only (depends on your point of view) 2 women serving in the IAF as combat-navigators: the second one is 2nd Lt. Moran from Haifa who received her wings exactly 2 years later (30 December 1999, also at Hatzerim) and was posted in an F-4 Phantom squadron. By the way, her final certification exam was conducted by the Commander-in-Chief in person, Gen. Eitan Ben-Aliyahu.

Air Defense Tag

Air-Defense is the second combat course which is opened for women in the IAF, after the IAF Flight-Course:

Basic Training - 1st Course

The first female recruits went through Basic Training for 8 weeks (July/August 1998), beginning with 21 girls; they were divided into 2 separate sections (teams) within integrated male-female platoons of the ''Atalef'' (bat) company at the IAF Anti-Aircraft School. In December 1999, 14 of them completed an advanced course in order to be certified as combat operators of the IAF's various Air-Defense platforms. 8 of them were certified as HAWK operators, and 6 were certified as ''Ramit'' operators and were assigned to a battery which is a part of a Chaparel battalion).

Ramit HAWK

The ''Ramit'' is a mobile tactical radar system which detects low-altitude penetrations of light aircraft; it operates on the northern border with Lebanon and Syria (the 'Purple Line').

Half of the first 14 fighters, 4 from HAWK batteries and 3 from the ''Ramit'' continued to an NCO Commanders Course (2 and a half months, ended July 1999). 4-6 of them continued to the IDF Officers Course in BAHAD-1 (Instruction Base 1) near Mitzpe Ramon with other male cadets from the IAF Air-Defense forces (until then only male cadets trained there); it is reported that 3 of them completed their cadet training on 23 February 2000, and thus became the first female officers in the IDF to graduate from BAHAD-1! The second course enlisted and began Basic Training (March/April 1999) with 33 girls; about 27 began the third course (August 1999).

Female enlisted fighters serve 2 years (women normally serve only 1 year and 7 months, whereas men serve 3 years), and will also be in the reserves, for 1 month per year, till the age of 34 (woman normally don't serve in the reserves at all, whereas men usually serve till the age of 45). Female officers sign for an additional period of 3 years, just like male officers in the same position.


Available posts to women in the IAF Air-Defense currently include: HAWK batteries, Patriot batteries (both within Israeli borders), and ''Ramit'' systems (may advance along with ground forces during war, but behind the actual front-line of fighting).

Airborne Mechanic Wings

1st Sgt. Orly, aged 20 from Ramat-Gan, is the first and only female to serve as an airborne mechanic in the IAF. She enlisted as a mechanic in a Bell-212 Anafa squadron, after a year and a half she transferred to the new UH-60 Black Hawk suqadron, and a few months later she volunteered for the airborne mechanics course. She finished her course in the end of 1999.

An airborne mechanic is an assistant aircrew member, who deals with every mechanical problem which occurs - on the ground or in the air. An airborne mechanic is also in charge of operating the helicopter's crane in CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) missions, as well as operating the helicopter's machine-gun under attack.

Wo-manning the Machine Gun

The duraion of the Airborne Mechanics Course is 8-9 months, because the final phase - professionalizing - is conducted in the various operational squadrons. In order to apply for an airborne mechanic post, one must have a seniority of over a year and a half as a ground mechanic, as well as pass psychotechnic and medical evaluations, and the final requirement is a 3-days period of intense PT (Pyshical Training) prior to the actual course. During the course the trainees also go through the IDF parachuting course. Airborne mechanics are required to sign for 3 years of additional service.

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