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F-16(A/B) Netz

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations. The first four "Netz" aircraft landed in Ramat David AFB on July 2, 1980. A few months after their arrival, it already had a significant achievement to its name: the aircraft's first shut down in the world. The historic shut down took place in April, 1981, when Brig. Gen. (Res.) Rafi Berkovitch shot down a Syrian Mil-Mi 8 helicopter.

Since that shut down and to this day, the "Netz" has conducted countless missions and partook in many operations; the 2006 Second Lebanon War, 1996 Operation "Grapes of Wrath", 2008 Operation "Cast Lead", 2002 Operation "Pillar of Defense" and 2014 Operation "Protective Edge" being just part of the operations the "Netz" took part in. In fact, during its years of activity, the aircraft has conducted 474,000 sorties and 335,000 flight hours. "In the history books, the 'Netz' will be written as the aircraft that changed the face of the Middle East", stated Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, in the ceremony.

The most known sortie by the "Netz" is the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor during 1981 Operation "Opera", that symbolized a significant milestone in the aircraft's activity and for the IAF. In an interview with the IAF Magazine, Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin, then Deputy Commander of the F-16 Squadron and one of the eight combat pilots that took part in the operation, shared: "The nuclear reactor was protected by SAM batteries that were brought there after the Iranians tried attacking it in January, 1981. The IAF had never flown such a far distance and the last 'leg' was in a flat zone filled with high voltage poles in which the Iraqi Aerial Defense forces could easily discover us".

Despite the difficulty, it is clear that the attack on the nuclear reactor was one of the most impressive achievements in IAF history. "I believe that this operation is proof of Israel's need of a strong and quality, creative and daring air force", added Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Yadlin. "This is an example of how one tactical sortie of eight attack aircraft and six interception aircraft, could achieve a strategic change that will remain valid for generations to come".

Alongside the successful operational work the "Netz" is credited for, one cannot forget its activity in the training fields: IAF Servicemen consider it simple and comfortable to fly. The "Netz" aircraft have a resume that also include training combat pilots and WSO's in the Combat Training Course and Advanced Combat Training Course, which the aircrews complete at the end of their pilots course.

On 26 December 2016, some 36 years of operational activity came to an end this morning as the "Netz" (F-16A/B) landed from their flight and shut off the engine for the last time. The IAF parts from the first of F-16 aircraft that are leaving a hefty past behind them and a promising future ahead. "The 'Netz' is not an object it has a soul"

The IAF parted from the "Netz" (F-16A/B) jets that are completing their service in the IAF after 36 years of operational activity. In a ceremony that took place in Ouvda AFB, the engines of the first F-16 aircraft in the IAF were shut off, leaving behind operational achievements, great knowledge and countless memories. "Moments ago, the 'Netz' landed from its last flight after 36 years of flight", said Col. Itamar, Ouvda AFB Commander. "Today, we say goodbye to an incredible aircraft that seems to have been created by an artist, an aircraft that fits its missions like a glove".

"Today, we sign the last chapter of the 'Netz' aircraft in the IAF", added Lt. Col. Udi, the "Flying Dragon" Squadron Commander that has been flying the aircraft in its final years. "Only those who have touched the aircraft, only those who have been touched by the aircraft, know that the 'Netz' is not just an object - it has a soul".

The "Lavi" (M-346) aircraft that landed in Israel two years ago and entered service in Flight Academy and the Flying Tiger" Squadron near Hatzerim AFB will take the "Netz's" place as a combat training aircraft. "Since 2000, 'Barak' (F-16C/D) and 'Raam' (F-15I) and 'Sufa' (F-16I) take part in most of the operational activity in the IAF", explains Lt. Col. Udi. "The 'Netz' took a step back in its operational activity but found a way to continue giving - it trained the next generation of pilots".

Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] has the experience, infrastructure and skilled manpower to provide life extension, upgrades and maintenance for the F-16 aircraft. These capabilities are built on IAI's past experience and current work accumulated while working for the Israel Air Force in support of their F-16 aircraft. As part of the F-16 depot level maintenance, IAI performs structural enhancements to extend the service life of the aircraft, and avionics upgrade to enhance the operational capabilities of the aircraft.

The Israeli Air Force is looking to sell the retired aircraft to interested second-hand buyers. As many as 40 of the warplanes will be available. IAI can offer refurbished and upgraded ex-Israel Air Force F-16 aircraft, as cost effective alternatives to new multi-role fighter aircraft. These aircraft have proven their mission effectiveness in a wide range of combat scenarios and under demanding conditions. These aircraft are upgraded to the highest level of avionics capabilities.

Prior to delivering these aircraft, IAI can perform comprehensive maintenance and structural life extension to provide the new Users with long service life and high aircraft availability. IAI is also able to provide a comprehensive support package for all aspects of aircraft operation and maintenance. To ensure the aircraft meets the demanding mission requirements, the aircraft avionics systems will be upgraded to meet current and future challenges.

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Page last modified: 29-12-2016 13:59:29 ZULU