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Nevatim AFB Turns 10 Release date 25.09.2018
Ten years ago, Lod AFB relocated to Nevatim and announced the establishment of the new Nevatim airbase, home to an “Adir” (F-35I) squadron as well as strategic transport squadrons and new platforms. The AFB’s current commander and its establishing commander told the IAF Site about the airbase’s past and present as well as their certainty of its future
Shilo Lev

Nevatim AFB is one of the largest bases in the IDF, home to an aerial force capable of performing a wide-range of missions, from transport to combat. The airbase recently marked ten years since its establishment in a ceremony headed by IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin. “We’ll meet here again in ten years”, said Maj. Gen. Norkin. “The airbase will see the ‘Adir’ (F-35I) aircraft operate alongside the ‘Shimshon’, ‘Karnaf’ and ‘Nachshon' aircraft. Also joining them will be the IAF’s new aerial refueling aircraft. The airbase will continue expanding its borders and act as a bastion of safety and human quality”. The relocation of Lod AFB to Nevatim began in 2002 and ended ten years ago.


Photography: Alexandra Aksyutich

An Irregular Opportunity
Five squadrons operate out of Nevatim AFB: the 131st ("Knights of the Yellow Bird") Squadron which operates "Karnaf" (Hercules C-130) aircraft; the 103rd ("Elephants") Squadron which operates "Shimshon" (Super Hercules C-130J) aircraft; the 120th ("Desert Giants") Squadron which operates "Re'em" (Boeing 707) aircraft; the 122nd ("Nachshon") Squadron which operates "Eitam" and "Shavit" (Gulfstream G-500/G-550) reconnaissance aircraft; and the 140th ("Golden Eagle") Squadron which operates "Adir" (F-35I) aircraft.

Lod AFB was originally a transport airbase while Nevatim was originally a fighter airbase. The relocation created a new airbase comprising various different platforms which complement one another. "The various units which have been added to the base along the years and the combination of the various divisions make Nevatim a multi-mission base", explained Brig. Gen. Grinboim. "Commanding over a multi-mission base requires me to operate unique control mechanisms which are uncommon in airbases with one main mission".


Photography: Alexandra Aksyutich

All Around the World
"In the coming decades we are expected to integrate about 50 'Adir' aircraft alongside new platforms and advanced intelligence systems", described Brig. Gen. Grinboim. "Innovation is a landmark in the base's activity. Our aircraft participate in all IAF missions all around the world".

Over the past year, Nevatim has been home to humanitarian missions, airlifts, force transportations, international deployments, aerial refueling missions, reconnaissance missions, logistics missions, attack missions and more. "The airbase's main source of power isn't its platforms, infrastructure, or 'Adir' aircraft – it's its service members", elaborated Brig. Gen. Grinboim. "They are the IAF's most valuable resource".


Photography: Alexandra Aksyutich

Nevatim AFB is unique in its integration of both transport squadrons and fighter squadrons. "The integration of the two divisions is an irregular opportunity for the entire air force to learn from one another", said Brig. Gen. Grinboim. "It is the main contribution to the rise in development of new modes of operation and learning, which bring about better results".

The Strategic Base
Brig. Gen. (Res') Eden Attias, Nevatim AFB's first commander, made the unique decision of eschewing the usual multi-year plan when the airbase was first established. "When arriving somewhere new, it's natural to compose a multi-year plan and place the airbase's cornerstones. I chose to work differently", recalled Brig. Gen. (Res') Attias. "During the airbase's first year, we worked towards its operational capability". At the end of that year, Nevatim underwent an operational fitness inspection and was successfully deemed operational.


Archive Photo

"Adir" aircraft landed in Israel in December 2016 and were integrated in Nevatim AFB, but the vision for integration of the advanced aircraft began just a year after the airbase's establishment in a strategic discussion headed by Brig. Gen. (Res') Attias. "We held a strategic discussion one year after the establishment of Nevatim, in which we reached several conclusions", said Brig. Gen. (Res') Attias. "We realized that Nevatim was the appropriate base for the integration of a new IAF aircraft, and we aimed for this scenario".

“A majority of the airbase's transport missions are strategic transport missions”, added Brig. Gen. (Res’) Attias. “It was important for us to emphasize that these weren't simple transport missions carrying people from place to place, but strategic missions – from reconnaissance, through long-range troop transport and to operational precision”.


Archive Photo

“I doubt that the people who built the base in 1983 thought it would eventually look the way it does today”, said Brig. Gen. Grinboim. “The idea that it began as a small vision which people then acted to fulfill fills me with pride. I have a dream for the future as well: to see how the base’s significance to the state of Israel grows more and more, to see it operate in cooperation with additional military arms and even international forces from around the world, not just IAF aircraft".


Archive Photo