Israeli Air Force


In 1948 the Israeli Air Force was formed as a result of Israel declaring statehood and then being promptly attacked by their Arab neighbors.  They have been an integral part of the Israel Defense Forces and a major reason for Israel’s ability to thrive despite involvement in several wars, battles, and confrontations.  Only the best of the best become pilots in the Israeli Air Force, as the training programs and rigorous procedures weed out the unworthy.  None of the fighter pilots are volunteers; they must first be invited as recruits.


The early history of the Israeli Air Force involved air support during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and subsequent border skirmishes throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.  Their primary responsibilities were to repel invading enemy infantry forces, and bombing raids that were designed to suppress enemy communication capabilities and disrupt their transportation and supply routes.


The Israeli Air Force was instrumental in the country’s ability to quickly and decisively take the edge in the Six Day War of 1967.  Israel obtained unquestionable air supremacy early in the war when their fighter pilots destroyed almost the entire Egyptian air force while its planes were still on the ground.  The Syrian, Iraqi, and Jordanian air forces were all almost completely destroyed as well, with few of the battles actually becoming aerial dog fights.  In the entire six days of fighting, the Israeli Air Force destroyed nearly five hundred enemy Arab aircraft while losing less than fifty of their own.


By the time the Yom Kippur War had begun in 1973, the majority of Israel’s aircraft was manufactured within the country or imported from the United States.  This war also saw Israel maintaining air supremacy, although at a higher cost in terms of aircraft lost, while also featuring some intense aerial battles with Egyptian pilots flying Soviet made Migs.  This was also the first war in which the Israeli Air Force’s helicopters played a major role in combat operations.


Contemporary operations of the Israeli Air Force have featured somewhat different tactics.  The primary objectives have been bombing raids and targeted military air strikes to disrupt terrorist activities.