The first two F-16I (“Sufa”) jet fighters land in Israel

Approximately five years after the IAF decided on their purchase, accompanied by two F-16A (“Netz”) jet fighters, the first two F-16I jets disrupt the Negev silence. Before landing on Israeli soil, one of the aircrafts performs a “touch and go” procedure, following the landing of both aircrafts for the first time at the IAF base in Ramon.

The new aircraft is equipped with conformal fuel tanks (CFT) that extend its flight range and enhance its ability to stay in the air without compromising other flight performances, an APG-68(V)X synthetic aperture radar (SAR) which enables tracking ground targets at any weather, day or night, and avionic systems which were developed according to specific demands made by the IAF and the Israeli Defense Industries. These systems are upgradeable and designed with the possibility of being updated in the future.

The two aircrafts began their long journey (a total of 21 hours) at the “Lockheed Martin” aeronautics company in Fort-Worth, Texas.  The jets took off for a long flight to the halfway pit stop at the Azure Island west of Portugal.

Following a few hours’ leave on the ground, they continued on their way to Israel.

The jets were manned by United States Air Force pilots and Israeli airman from the new founded F-16I Squadron.

Present in the ceremony were the minister of defense, Shaul Mofaz, the Chief of Staffs Lt. General Moshe Ya’alon and the commander of the IAF at the time, General Danny Haluz. The honored entourage attached the symbol of the Negev squadron to the aircraft’s tails, thus making them an official part of the IAF.