Squadrons

The "First Jet" Squadron

The Establishment of the Squadron
In June 1953, in the northern Ramat-David airbase, The "First Jet" Squadron was opened. The squadron's opening ceremony was led by the then-Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who nicknamed the two first "Meteor" planes in the squadron "Sufa" and "Saar" (Hebrew for storm). The squadrons first downing occurred on September 1st, when four Egyptian enemy planes entered Israeli airspace north of the Gaza Strip. Two of the squadron's planes, which were on ready alert in Hatzor Airbase, were rushed toward two of the enemy planes in the Crémieux Kibbutz area and took them down.

During the "1956 Kadesh Operation" (also known as The Suez Crisis), the squadron's planes covered other planes in a few missions, while also performing their regular missions: Covering the "Dacota" planes that dropped Israeli paratroopers in Sinai, assistance and photography missions and covering patrols to secure the "Mosquito" planes that executed photography sorties.
During 1957, following the dissolution of reserve squadrons and the retiring of piston planes, the squadron functioned as a training squadron.

Conversion to "Mirage III"
In the year of 1961, the air and technical crews of The "First Jet" Squadron underwent a conversion course in France following the IAF's decision to purchase "Mirage III" jets ("Shachak in Hebrew). It was decided that The "First Jet" Squadron would become the second "Mirage III" squadron in the IAF. For the first time in the IAF history, the planes, which officially arrived during July of 1962, made it possible to protect the country's airspace during both night and day. They were also the first aircraft to be equipped with missiles. The Mirage's first successful downing took place in August 1966. During a fight near the Sea of Galilee, during which Syrian aircraft attacked Israeli Navy vessels, a Mirage III jet downed a patrolling plane from the Syrian MiG-21 squadron that was in the area.
During the "Six-Day War", the squadron took part in Operation "Moked" (also known as Operation "Focus") during which enemy airports were targeted. The squadron focused on interception missions and assisting ground forces. The squadron downed fourteen enemy planes during the war. In the "War of Attrition", the squadron was credited with the downing of 26 enemy planes, Egyptian and Syrian. During the "1973 Yom Kippur War", the squadron operated in the Golan Heights area where it executed interception missions. All in all, the squadron downed over 45 enemy planes.

The arrival of the F-16 A/B Jets
In October 1979, the squadron was closed in preparation for the reception of the F-16 A/B fighter jets whose arrival was planned for 1981. At the beginning of 1980, the first four jets were received and a few months later took part in their first operation. In April 1981, the squadron downed two Syrian Mi-8 Helicopters in the Jabal-Sanin area in Lebanon. This was the first ever downing performed by an F-16 A/B.
In June 1981, the squadron led eight F-16s on a mission to demolish the "Osirak" Iraqi nuclear reactor in Baghdad. In the mission that later received the name "Operation Opera" took part Colonel Ilan Ramon, a pilot from the squadron.
During the "1982 Lebanon war", the squadron took part in air-air missions, during which it downed a total of 19 planes. Besides air-air missions, the squadron also took part in terrorist target attack missions.

The F-16 C/D Era
With the reception of the F-16 C/D "Barak" jets towards the end of 1986, The "First Jet" became the first F-16 C/D squadron in the Israeli Air Force.
In April 1988, the squadron took part in the first operational strike of terrorist targets in Lebanon and later in Operation "Accountability" and in Operation "Grapes of Wrath".
In 2003, the squadron attacked an Islamic Jihad training camp near Damascus.

During the "2006 Second Lebanon war", the squadron took part in rocket launcher "hunts", destruction of Hezbollah infrastructure, terrorist target attacks and protection of Israeli airspace. In Operation "Cast Lead" and later in Operation "Pillar of Defense", the squadron took an active part in the attacks on Hamas targets and rocket launchers.