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Boeing 707

The Boeing 707 is a versatile aircraft first manufactured by Boeing during the 1950s. The 707 has been widely used as a commerical aircraft, and two custom-built 707s served as Air Force One. Production of passenger 707s ended in 1978, but production for military use continued until 1991.

The Boeing 707 uses four engines, and has gone through several revisions since its original design. The first 707 model was the 707-120, which was based on the Boeing 367-80. The 707-220 was essentially the same as the 707-120, with the addition of more powerful engines. The 707-320 and 707-420 models added larger wings and more fuel capacity to allow for transcontinental flights. Its service in the IAF began in the Yom Kippur War, during which it was used for flying armed personnel to Refidim and other airfields in the Sinai. After the war, several planes were purchased from TWA and other airlines, and additional 707s were leased from the Israel Aircraft Industries.


From 1983 on, the Boeings began to carry out midair refueling of fighters, thus lengthening the IAF's range. Israeli tanker assets are poorly attested in open sources. IISS claims that the IAF has a total of 5 Re'em" ("Antelope") tankers (4 KC-707, 1 KC-135). Periscope thinks that the 6 Boeing 707-320 R'em (Unicorn) aircraft are transports, but reports that there are 5 KC-707 Saknayee (Pelican) tankers [a nomenclature that is otherwise un-attested]. Aeroflight says there are a total of four Boeing 707-320 aircraft converted to a KC-707 configuration of unspecified designation. What is probably the most reliable SOURCE agrees that a total of five Boeing 707-320 aircraft, acquired between January 1983 and November 1999, have been converted to a KC-707 configuration of unspecified designation.

What began as a project aimed at eliminating a maintenance problem on the Israel Defence Force Boeing 707 fleet resulted by 2003 in the aircraft having a significantly improved performance at 75% of the predicted project cost.

In a joint operation by the IAF and the Israeli Navy on 03 January 2002 , IDF naval commandos took over a ship carrying 50 tons of weapons and ammunition apparently intended for the Palestinian Authority. The 4,000 ton "Karine-A" is intercepted by Israeli Navy boats 500km south of Eilat and taken over by several dozen "Shayetet-13" operators which are brought to the scene by IAF assault helicopters. During the actual takeover, 8 minutes long, some troops drop from 124th "Rolling Sword" squadron Blackhawk helicopters while others climb the ship from rubber boats, possibly dropped for the troops by IAF transports. Various other IAF aircraft are also reported present, including F-15Is flying top cover, helicopter gunships (apparently Apaches), CH-53 Yasurs with Unit 669 members onboard, KC-130 tanker aircraft, unspecified reconnaissance aircraft and a Boeing 707 Re'em acting as a command post. The raiding party departed Ovda AFB on the previous evening, the distance from Israel's shores' necessitating the inflight refueling of the helicopters, which takes place at night using night vision goggles. The last aircraft to depart Ovda was the Boeing 707 which left at midnight, carrying IDF Chief-of-Staff Shaul Mofaz, IAF commander Dan Halutz, Navy commander Yedidia Ya'ary and AMAN (IDF Intelligence Branch) commander, Aharon Zeevi.

The most striking native mammal which has been re-introduced to Israel so far is the Arabian Oryx (the biblical re'em), a black and white antelope which is extinct or near extinction throughout its habitat in the Levant and Arabia due to over-hunting. The etymology of re'em is uncertain, but the word may be from a root signifying "to rise" or "to be high. The word "unicorn" is based on the Hebrew word re'em ("horn"), in early versions of the Old Testament translated as "monokeros", meaning "one horn", which became "unicorn" in English. The re'm or re'em, rendered "unicorn" in the King James Version and "wild ox" in the Revised Version, may perhaps also be the oryx. It may be presumed that "ox-antelope" of Numbers 23:22 the Revised Version margin is meant to indicate the oryx, which is swift and fierce, and has a pair of very long, sharp and nearly straight horns. The re'em is most probably the urus or aurochs, the primitive Bos taurus, which seems to be depicted in Assyrian monuments and referred to as remu.


It is believed that four Boeing RC-707 aircraft are operated by the IAF, two in the ELINT role and two in the ECM role. The aircraft are operated by 134 Tayeset at Lod. Some other IAF 707s are possibly configured for AAR/SIGINT operations. Some of the ELINT aircraft incorporate a cheek-antenna array externally similar to the AEELS (Automatic ELINT Emitter Locating System) on the RC-135U/V/W. Israel is currently looking for up to 9 dual role aircraft to replace their 707's and will purchase a number of Gulfstream G500s.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:51:12 ZULU