Squadrons

The "Flying Dragon" Squadron

The "Mosquito" Aerial Photography Squadron
The squadron was established on July 8, 1954, with four photography designated "Mosquito" aircraft.
The Mid-50s era was characterized by acts of retaliation by IDF infantry over the Israeli borders, so the squadron's duty was to photograph targets in these operations. The aerial photography operations were conducted over the Gaza Strip and the Jordanian West Bank. Additionally, the squadron conducted long-range photography sorties of Egyptian airports and military targets.

On July 1955, the Squadron executed unique long-range photography sorties on the border of Egypt and Libya, where, based on intelligence information, Israeli prisoners were found. On July 15, 1956 it was decided to transfer the squadron to "Tel-Nof" airbase.
In the year that preceded Operation "Kadesh" in November 1956, the squadron executed patrol and photography sorties of Egyptian Army formations in the Suez Canal area and of the preparation of the Egyptian Air Force and its infrastructure in the Sinai Peninsula and in the depth of Egyptian territory. In the days prior to the attack, the squadron executed photography sorties beyond the Mitle Pass, which was chosen as the drop site for the paratroopers' brigade. Following the photos that were collected in this sortie, the drop site was moved to the Eastern part of the Mitle Pass.

The Jet Replaces the Piston
Following Operation "Kadesh", the squadron's scope of activity was significantly reduced. The advanced jet planes that began to arrive in the IAF such as the photography designated French "Mystere" replaced the piston planes and the number of photography sorties were reduced significantly, as a result of concern from escalation. All of these led to the closure of the squadron in November, 1958 and to the decommission of the Mosquito planes.

Following a second purchase transaction of the "Skyhawk A-4" Aircraft in 1968, it was decided to reopen the squadron, designated as a bombing and combat squadron.
The official opening of the squadron was on March 30. The reopening of the squadron and reception of the jets were carried out over the course of escalation in the "War of Attrition" in the Egyptian front, therefore, the squadron was required to begin operational activity before the sufficient infrastructure and equipment were prepared.

On April 22, 1969, about a month after its reopening, the squadron took part in its first operational activity - the attack of an Egyptian radar station based outside Egypt in Ma'an Jordan. Throughout the war, the building of par continued, alongside intense operational activity. From its reopening until the end of the war, the squadron carried out 1,000 operational sorties.

In the "Yom Kippur" War, the squadron was the only Skyhawk A-4 squadron to take part in attacking enemy airports. Even so, the bulk of its activity was assisting ground troops in SAM protected areas. Throughout the war, the squadron executed about 750 sorties and lost seven aircraft. Five pilots were killed (one of them is still missing) and two were taken captive.
Throughout the 1982 "First Lebanon" War, the squadron carried out hundreds of operational sorties. On June, 6, 1982, on the second day of fighting, one of the squadron's aircraft was hit, the pilot ejected himself and was taken captive. He was released on August 1982.

On October 3, 1984, the squadron was transferred to its new home base - Nevatim. On July 1993, as a part of Operation "Accountability" over Lebanon, the squadron executed 38 day and night sorties.
On July 21, 1994, the squadron was closed after 25 years of activity as a Skyhawk A-4 squadron. A part of its planes were moved to low readiness status and the rest were integrated into the remaining active Skyhawk A-4 squadrons.

The "Red" Squadron
On February 2005, the establishment of the squadron and the advanced training center started in Ouvda Airbase.
Today, the squadron operates many types of fighter jets and helicopters and provides training exercises for all of the IAF's squadrons. Furthermore, it contains the special unit responsible for simulating enemy ground forces.
The 21st century brought with it the beginning of aerial training exercises with other Western Air Forces.
Following these training exercises, substantial gaps in the IAF's ability to cooperate with foreign Air Forces were discovered. The main conclusion was that the IAF's aggressor (enemy simulation) abilities had to be strengthened in order to better the IAF's training regime in multiple layers.

Therefore, the training department led the development of a "Red" squadron that would constitute of an advanced training center for the IAF's squadron. During March 2004, the IAF Commander confirmed the establishment of a squadron-like structure in the "Ouvda" Airbase that would be responsible for enemy simulation. Since then the "Flying Dragon" Squadron has carried out training exercises with foreign air forces like the Italian and Polish Air Forces.