The “Hornet” squadron bids farewell to the Boeing AH-64 Apache A military ceremony marks the end of the Boeing AH-64 Apache era in the “Hornet” squadron. The squadron, which carried the title of the first Apache squadron in the IAF was to be officially reopened as the first Saraph (The Israeli Apache-Longbow configuration) squadron in the IAF with most of its personnel panned to transfer to the second Apache squadron, “The Magic Touch”, established over a decade ago.

From the speech of the base commander, Col. A: “The squadron holds a significant place in the history of the Israeli nation, proficient in every detail. The squadron stood at the head of Israel’s fighting aerial force. You can hear new and fresh voices in the background, ready to illuminate once again the “Hornet”, the Saraph”

The “Hornet” squadron was established as a combat squadron and has been first opened in the Hazor base on October 1955 with the arrival of the first Ouragan jets. It’s first commander was Binyamin (Benny) Peled which in turn became the IAF commander. Even in it’s first few months of activity, the squadron took part in the air force’s interception array and chalked down the first kill on April 1956 by Maj. David Kishon. During the course of the years the squadron took part in all Israel war campaigns and special operations, including operation “Moked” (“Center”) of the Six Day War and operation “Litany” (March 1978). In 1973, before the start of Yom Kippur war, the squadron replaced the Ouragan jets with the IAI made “Nesher” aircraft. Three years later the squadron was transformed to IAI “Kfir” aircraft. At the end of May 1986 the “Hornet” squadron was closed in order to be reopened three years later as a combat helicopter squadron. In it’s new incarnation as an Apache squadron it had moved from the Hazor base to the southern base where it’s stationed today.

The final decision for the closure of the “Hornet” squadron as an Apache squadron and it’s transformation to the first IAF “Saraph” Squadron was made a year and a half ago. In the next month, with the unveiling of the “Saraph” helicopter in Arizona, USA, the “Hornet” squadron will be declared as the first “Saraph” squadron in the IAF.

Lt. Col N, the squadron commander mentioned: “It’s a great honour for me to command this squadron. An amazing squadron, wonderful, with unlimited capabilities for both it and it’s men. Most of all, the “Hornet” squadron ends with a fine group of excellent people which together form the Apache family”

The IAF commander, Maj. Gen Elyezer Shkedi said “You have a creators’ right in the IAF on many processes and abilities. May you continue in the same way and with the same power in the new format.”