Squadrons

‎The Negev Squadron

Ramon Airbase

Aircraft:
• IAI Nesher (Hebrew for “Vulture”)
• Dassault Mirage III (known in Hebrew as the “Shahak”, a biblical word of unclear meaning)
• F-16B (known in Hebrew as the “Netz”, meaning “Hawk”)
• F-16I (known in Hebrew as the “Sufa”, meaning “Storm”)

On 27th July 1976 the “Negev” Squadron was founded on Hatzor Airbase as an IAI Nesher Squadron. Two years later, during Operation Litani, the squadron flew 26 patrol and interception sorties. On 14th June the order was received to retrain the unit on the Mirage III. Following the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty Israeli forces withdrew from the Sinai, and the Air Force was forced to abandon its bases in the area. On 25th April 1981 the removal of the Eitam Airbase was completed, and the squadron's Mirages were transfered to a reserve squadron that was established on Hatzor Airbase. With the transfer of the aircraft the unit was temporarily shut down, awaiting conversion to the F-16B. It became Israel's third F-16B squadron.

The squadron deployed on Ramat David Airbase in October 1981. It remained there for four months before being transferred to the Ramon Airbase in the Negev, which had been built to replace the dismantled Eitam Airbase. The transfer began in January 1982 and was completed on 25th February, with the flyover of the 16 first planes. A week later the squadron began regular flights from its new base. During the First Lebanon War the squadron carried out 192 patrol, intercept and escort flights and during Operation Accountability carried out 20 sorties, 18 air strikes and 2 for patrol and interception.

At the start of 1994 the squadron began learning to operate new smart bombs. These first saw operational use on 3rd August 1995 during Operation Iron Eagle, during which two smart bombs were dropped on an observation post manned by terrorists. In the wake of further Hizballah escalation along Israel's northern border, the IDF initiated another operation to strike terrorist targets in South Lebanon. During the operation the squadron carried out more than 80 air strikes.

The same year the squadron began to work with navigators, following the acquisition of 14 surplus two-seater F-16Bs from the USAF.

The Air Force assisted in the withdrawal from Lebanon by carrying out strikes and showing aerial presence. The squadron carried out two airstrikes during this period.  Starting from 2005 the squadron began to receive the F-16I.

During the second Lebanon war in July 2006, the squadron operated around the clock and carried out hundreds of successful bombings with various kinds of weaponry.

 

‎The Negev Squadron
‎The Negev Squadron