Israeli Air Force Models

by Yoav Efrati

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  Israeli Independence Day 2005 

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The above photos depict an AH-64A "Peten" no.967 of the Magic Touch squadron. This helicopter was the first to be painted in what is locally known as a "Tiger" scheme. On May 24, 2001 a Lebanese registry Cessna 172 privet plane entered Israeli air space without permission. The Cessna was escorted by F-16's and soon after by a pair of "Peten" helicopters who for 33 minutes requested he turn back to no avail. As he neared the city of Netanya, it was feared that he is intending to commit a suicide bombing attack and was downed by a "Peten" no.967 using a Hellfire missile thus making it the first IAF helicopter to down an airplane. Model is Hasegawa's 1/48 scale AH-64A, Decals IsraDecal sheet IAF-23. Article on building this "Peten" is awaiting publication with Fine Scale Modeler since it was completed in the summer of 2002. 

While F-86 Sabres were battling MiG-15's over the skies of Korea, in the middle east, French made Mystere IV's were battling MiG-15's over the skies of the Sinai. During the October 28, 1956 Suez War, IAF piloted Mystere IV's downed 7 Egyptian aircraft. Mystere IV is Revell/Matchbox 1/72 kit with Decals from IsraDecal sheet IAF-32. The MiG-15 is KP's with decals made by Hi-Decal MiG-15 sheet.

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Only days after Israel claimed victory on the Arabs in the June 1967 "Six Day War", Egypt initiated a new war, the 1000 Day War of Attrition. Daily artillery duals were waged by both armies with the IDF using it air force as flying artillery. To adapt to the terrain of the Sinai desert, a new lighter 4 color scheme was adopted. Two Mystere IV's of the Flying Wing squadron are depicted in the transition colors of the War of Attrition. Mystere no.52 wears a Jordanian Hunter kill and Mystere no.44 wears an Egyptian MiG-17 kill, both kills attained during the Six Day War. Mystere IV is Revell/Matchbox 1/72 kit with Decals from IsraDecal sheet IAF-32. 

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When the summer 2000 peace talks hosted by president Bill Clinton at Camp David, between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat came to a deadlock, Arafat initiated a terror campaign known as Antifada El Aksa. Israeli civilians became the primary targets of Palestinian snipers and suicide bombers. To stop the "ticking bombs", hostile recon cense missions were conducted by AH-1S "Tzefa" during the day and AH-64A "Petens" at night. The Israeli high command soon came to the realization that the only way to stop the idealistic teenagers from committing murder was by getting at the leaders responsible for brain washing them. The campaign was successful as the number of suicide bombings were drastically reduced to a level where peace talks could resume three years later. At the tip of the spear that brought the Palestinians back to the bargaining table were the "Tzefa" and the "Peten". The Tzefa is Hasegawa's 1/72 AH-1S and the Peten is AMT/Ertle's AH-64A. Decals are from IsraDecal sheet IAF-11.

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In 1994 the IAF accepted delivery of surplus US army AH-1F helicopters. These helicopters retained their original US Army dark green color and are used for advanced pilot training by the IAF's flight school. Prior to flying the "Tzefa", flight training is conducted on UH-1N "Anafa" helicopters which are being phased out in favor of UH-60 "Yanshuf" helicopters. Tzefa is Hasegawa's 1/72 AH-1S and the "Anafa" is Italeri's 1/72 UH-1N. Decals are from IsraDecal sheet IAF-11.

This photo shows an early mid-1990's vintage UH-60A "Yanshuf" (Owl) of the turning sward squadron. Two of the IAF's transport helicopter squadrons fly locally upgraded versions of the UH-60A and UH-60L. The overall green scheme worn by this early vintage UH-60A is being phased out in favor of brown and cream over gray colors. All new built UH-60L versions of the "Yanshuf" are already delivered in theses new colors. Model Hasegawa's 1/72 UH-60 with interior and exterior parts taken from Italeri's 1/72 UH-60L. Decals are from IsraDecal sheet IAF-11.

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Shown is a TISO equipped F-4E of the Hammer squadron is the USAF colors it wore during the 1982 Lebanon war. On the nose it has two SAM sight kill markings.  Most F-4E's delivered to the IAF in USAF colors were repainted prior to the Lebanon war, F-4E no.317 is one of the few that still wore these colors, nine years after is was delivered during the Yom Kippur war. The Hammer squadron was the only IAF squadron to make use of the optically guided AGM-65 Mavric missiles during the Lebanon war. Model Hasegawa's 1/72 F-4E with Cutting Edge decals.

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During 1976 the IAF changed its aireal recon assets based on the Mirage to those fitted to the F-4 Phantom. Three F-4E airframes were converted by General Dynamics to carry long range, side looking HIAC cameras that included F-4E no.198 that had a Syrian kill to its credit. In preparation of the 1981 Osiraq nuclear power plant bombing in Bagdad, two HIAC equipped Phantoms were sent to photograph the route the attacking fighters were to take on their mission. The two Phantoms were intercepted by Iraqi MiG-21fighters that pressed their afterburner attack until they ran out of fuel short of the Phantoms and far away from a runway which they could land. The Phantoms returned unharmed with two very economical kills to their credit. Model Hasegawa's 1/72 F-4E with revised Paragon recon nose and Cutting Edge decals.

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This is a 1976 vintage built RF-4E of the Orange Tail squadron. These new built RF-4E's were the only IAF F-4's to receive a Compass Ghost Gray scheme of f.s.36375 and f.s.36320 gray's. Note that the vertical fin has the light ghost gray on the center of the fin. Model Hasegawa's 1/72 RF-4E with Cutting Edge decals.

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During 1997, the IAF obtained on loan a pair of MiG-29's for evaluation. One was operated by Manat test and evaluation squadron and the other, red 105 by the Negev squadron. Since these MiG-29's did not belong to the IAF, they only had squadron markings applied and did not wear national marking. In his photo we see the world's highest scoring F-16A no.107 in 1997 vintage squadron markings alongside MiG-29 no.105. After several month's of evaluations, both MiG-29's were returned to their owners while Netz no.107 has since been transferred to the Flying Wing squadron. Netz no.107 model 1/72 Hasegawa F-16A with markings from IsraDecal sheet IAF-15, MiG-29 no.105 model 1/72 Italeri kit with Hi-Decal sheet 72-005 with squadron markings currently available in sheet IAF-15. The MiG-29 was featured in the April 2005 issue of Scale Aircraft Modelling.

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The 2 photos above depict F-16C no.534 in the new 2005 vintage markings of the 101 squadron. A 1948 vintage photo closeup of the squadron's insignia applied to an S-199 Avia was used by graphic artist and fellow modeler Ra'anan Weiss to restore the squadron's original dramatic lines as first drawn up 57 years ago by former USAAF volunteer pilot Stan Andrews who was killed in action on one of his missions over Egyptian lines. Model Hasegawa 1/48 F-16CJ, Decals IsraDecal sheet IAF-42. An article on how to build and paint this model will be featured in a future issue of Scale Aircraft Modelling.

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The 2 photos above show an actual wide intake, GE F-110 engined block 40 F-16C of the 101 squadron it their new 2005 markings. 

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The 2 photos above  show an actual AH-64A Peten of the Magic Touch squadron in brown and baige over gray "Tiger" colors. As all AH-64A's enter overhaul, they have these new colors applied.

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The 2 photos above  were taking during the AH-64D Longbow's acceptance ceremony held at Ramon air base on April 10, 2005. All AH-64D "Saraf" helicopters will be delivered in the "Tiger" colors and will operate with the Hornet squadron. Note that the Penten and Saraf color schemes differ.

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The 2 photos above  show the hottest and newest fighter plane in the IAF, the F-16I Sufa. F-16I no.427 belongs to the Negev squadron, while no.411 is shown in Bat squadron markings. The F-16I is technically a block 52 F-16D airframe with small intakes and P&W F-100 engines. 

Yoav

Photos and text by Yoav Efrati