Squadrons

The Bat Squadron

On October 9, 1956, the "Bat" squadron was first established as a "zero visibility" fighter squadron (squadrons that specify in flying in complete darkness or heavy fog and rely mainly on advanced radar systems) and operated three "Meteor" jets.
These jets operated during the "Kadesh" operation, from the Ramat-David Airbase. Following the operation, it was concluded that the squadron should be placed as close as possible to areas vulnerable to penetration of enemy aircraft and therefore it was decided to move the squadron south, to face Israel's most significant aerial threat at that time - Egypt. On December 15, 1957, the squadron was moved to the Tel-Nof Airbase.

From the "Meteor" to the "Mirage" and the "Phantom"
On April 1958, the first four "Vautour" bombers secretly landed in Israel. The bombers arrived at the squadron and by the end of July of the same year, three more had arrived and completed the process. On July 1963, the "Vautours" were decommissioned, in anticipation of the arrival of the "Mirage" (Shachak in Hebrew) fighter-jets, which possess unique photographic abilities. Throughout the "Six Day War", the squadron executed over 300 sorties with the "Mirage" jets, which included attack and assistance sorties. The squadron had a recorded 23 enemy planes shot-downs.

In 1970, six "Phantom F-4" (Kurnas in Hebrew) jets were integrated into the squadron and the squadron's Mirage jets were distributed between the "First Combat" Squadron and the "First Jet" Squadron. The squadron fought with the "Phantom" jets during the "Yom Kippur" War.
Throughout the war, the squadron executed approximately 1000 sorties which included attacks in deep enemy territory, photography, escort and assistance sorties. The squadron lost five jets during the war, four of its pilots were killed and four were taken captive. The squadron also executed 14 listed enemy planes shot-downs during the war.
In the 1982 "First Lebanon War", the squadron executed hundreds of attacks on Surface-to-Air missile batteries, assistance and interception patrols.

The F-16I Era
In 1999, the Israeli government approved the acquisition of the F-16I (Sufa in Hebrew) jets and it was decided that the "Bat" Squadron would fly them. The squadron started to fly the jets in January 2005. The squadron also used these jets in the 2006 "Second Lebanon War", in which they registered hundreds of sorties. The jets were also used during Operations "Cast Iron" and "Pillar of Defense".