Today, at 4pm, 40 miles off the shores of Israel, an F-16I airplane crashed during an aviation training session. Two aerial team members of the "Knights of the Orange Tail" were able to parachute from the aircrafts safely. Commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel, assembled an investigation crew to explore the circumstances of the incident. Commander of the IAF ordered a moratorium on any further training sessions of the F-15I and F-16I Formations until all details clear up.
Before abandoning the planes, the aerial team members reported a problem in the engine of aircraft. Since they were unable to fix the problem, they decided to follow protocol and abandon the aircraft above the water. After an hour they were evacuated by the 669 Search and Rescue forces and CH-53 helicopters that transported them to Tel Hashomer Hospital for various medical exams.
Last week, 669 Search and Rescue fighters trained for a similar scenario, where aerial team members abandoned their plane above water and needed to be evacuated. "The goal of our exercise is to keep our qualification level as high as possible in terms of evacuations above water", explained First Lieutenant D', commander of a 669 Rescuing team, to the IAF Magazine. "For example, a pilot could abandon the aircraft in the water or even get hurt while doing it, and we'll have to evacuate him as fast as possible".
F-16 Airplane: Dealing with the most advanced threats
The first F-16I airplanes landed in Israel in 2004. Since then, they have been participating in all sorts of missions. "The F-16I is very operational; its different parts grant it a bigger advantage over the senior F-16 aircrafts. The F-16I has the ability to deal with the toughest most complex threats: anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances". Said Lieutenant Colonel A', an experienced F-16 pilots, as the F-16I was transmitted to the IAF. "The F-16 will give us capabilities we've never dreamed of before".
One of the obvious advantages of F-16I is within the CFT (Conformal Fuel Tank) which increase by 40 percent the amount of fuel it can load and allow it a larger flight range without hurting its capabilities. The engine installed within the F-16I is an F100-PW-229 manufactured by "Pratt and Whitney", has a maximum thrust of 29,100 lbs., much like the F-15I engine. Most of the systems installed in the airplane are Israeli and were manufactured by Israeli Defense industries and were accustomed to the IAF's needs and especially for the F-16I. The aircraft is equipped with advanced radar which has synthetic aperture capability, which allows for the detection of ground targets in any sort of weather, in day and at night. The aircraft is also equipped with tow pods which have been uniquely combined: A "Litening Pod" which locates targets and guides weapons, and a Lantrin pod for navigation. Both systems are installed in the cockpit and look like two colorful multifunction screens.