Four months after getting absorbed into another squadron, the Israel Air Force’s Elephant Squadron, which played a major part in some of the IDF (Zahal)’s most important operations, has returned with a new purpose.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to welcome back the new Elephant Squadron, which will absorb the new Hercules J (Shimshon) planes in 2014, becoming the first Hercules J squadron in the Israel Air Force.
The new Hercules J plane that will be the heart of the reborn Elephant Brigade
Compared with the current, veteran Karnaf planes, the Hercules Js boast enhanced capabilities in terms of flight distance, size, ability to carry heavy weights, and accuracy in making equipment landings. “This is the younger brother of the Hercules planes. It has enhanced capabilities in many areas and can do everything the Karnaf did, but more and better,” said Lt. Col. A..
The Elephant Squadron, founded in 1948, was one of the first IDF (Zahal) squadrons. It was at the forefront of the IDF (Zahal) for many years in operations such as Operation Solomon, Operation Entebbe and Operation Kadesh. Throughout the years, the squadron used planes like the B-17, the Nord and the Karnaf, the latter still in use today.
“The situations that Israel could face in the future will require their most advanced abilities,” said Brigadier General Lihu HaCohen, commander of the Nevatim air force base.
Brigadier General Lihu HaCohen, commander of the Nevatim air force base.
In April, another ceremony will mark the official transfer of the planes to the IAF from Lockheed Martin, a security and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin.