Golden Eagle Squadron

Navatim Airbase

• Harvard T-6
• Fouga Magister
• Skyhawk (known in Hebrew as the “Ayit”, meaning “Eagle”)
• F-16 A/B (known in Hebrew as the “Netz”, meaning “Hawk”)
• F-35I (known in Hebrew as the "Adir", meaning "mighty")

The Operational Training Course (OTC) is intended to train pilot school graduates to be aerial warriors. During the changes that took place in the Seventies the “Golden Eagle” Squadron took on the Skyhawk OTC that had previously been run by the “Valley” Squadron on Ramat David Airbase. On 18th November 1973 the first OTC began, though in those days it was known as an Operational Training Unit (OTU). In 1985 the squadron was shut down, and the OTC was transferred to the “Defenders of the South” Squadron. The Operational Training Couse and the Advanced Operational Training Course began to rotate between the different Squadrons in the eighties. In 1999, only the OTC remained in the squadron.

The “Golden Eagle” Squadron hosts an F-16 A/B training center, for all of Israel's F-16 A/B aircrew. The F-16 A/B training program was transferred to the Ramon Airbase from Ramat David airbase in January 1988. The squadron assumed responsibility for its operation as soon as it was transferred. Today it is located on the Nevatim airbase where it serves as a knowledge and training center, included a sophisticated simulator produced by Elbit. The simulated exercises allow for aerial sorties, which are expensive both financially and in terms of man power, to be exchanged for simulated ‘flights’ on the ground which are far cheaper and of course safer.

The “Golden Eagle” squadron was established on 1st August 1950 as a training squadron flying the Harvard T-6 out of the Kfar Sirkin flight school. The squadron's first active service was during the Sinai Campaign, during which it carried out 47 sorties, carrying out airstrikes, launching flares, patrolling and airborne radio relay. It was shut down in 1952, and apart from one year of service as a flight training unit during 1966-1967, it lay dormant for 14 years.

In July 1973 the squadron was re-established on Etzion Airbase, as a Skyhawk N squadron in the Operational Training framework. Three years later it also received the Skyhawk E. In 1981, after the Etzion Airbase was closed during the withdrawal from Sinai, the squadron moved to the newly established Ramon Airbase. In 1985 the squadron was again dissolved, but was reopened in December 1986 in the light of the decision to convert to the F-16 A/B. In 2003 the squadron was moved to Nevatim, which remains its home to this day.

The "Adir" Arrives
The Squadron was re-established as the first "Adir" (F-35I) squadron in August, 2015. In December of 2016, the first pair of "Adir" (F-35I) aircraft arrived in Israel and were integrated into the "Golden Eagle" Squadron. Since then, additional "Adir" aircraft have been integrated into the squadron, and are heading towards operational readiness.

Previous commanders of the “Golden Eagle” squadron include Brigadier (reserve) Ron Huldai, currently Mayor of Tel Aviv, Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force Major General Ido Nehushtan and Colonel Rami Ben-Efraim, head of IAF Human Resources.

Golden Eagle Squadron
Golden Eagle Squadron