Israeli Air Force
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The second prototype IAI Lavi coded B-2.


Aircraft Types Not Used:

In the past, faulty research and disinformation has led various sources to suggest that certain aircraft types have been operated by the IDF/AF when we now know this to be false. Unfortunately, even today some 'reputable' magazines insist on listing at least two of these types. Politics has also seen to it that a number of aircraft types intended for the IDF/AF never made it into service.

This is a listing in alphabetical order of the common aircraft types falsely reported to have been operated by the Israeli Air Force, or those that didn't quite make it.


Beech U-21 Ute
Four U-21 utility transport aircraft were reportedly delivered from US Army stocks in 1975 and assigned the Hebrew name 'Sh'hafit' (Ibis). These aircraft have never been seen.

Beech RU-21A
Two RU-21A aircraft were reportedly delivered from US Army stocks in 1980, for use in EW/Combat Support duties. They were assigned the Hebrew name 'Tsofit' (Thrush). These aircraft have never been seen.

Benes-Mraz Be.550
A Czech-built Be.550 Bebe (VQ-PAQ) was obtained by Aviron in 1945, but sold to a private owner in 1947. This machine crashed on 29 November, killing it's pilot/owner, and so was unavailable for impressment by the Sherut Avir.

Boeing 747
Nine Boeing 747-200 aircraft are reported by some sources to be currently serving as tankers for the IDF/AF. In fact, the only military users are the USA, Japan and Iran.

Boeing CH-47 Chinook
Reports that the IDF/AF operates twelve CH-47 Chinooks are false. However, Egypt operates 15 Italian-built CH-47C, delivered after the peace treaty with Israel.

Canadair CL-13B Sabre 6
Israel ordered 24 examples in 1956, and at least one example flew in in Canada in Israeli markings. However, politics intervened and Canadair was forced to cancel the contract. No aircraft were delivered.

Dassault Mirage 5J
The Mirage 5J was a specially redesigned version of the Mirage IIICJ, with equipment and systems optimised for the attack role. The prototype first flew on 19 May 1967. Israel ordered and paid for 50 examples, but in June 1967 France imposed an embargo on exports to Israel, so none were ever delivered.

Focke Wulf Fw 190D
Various magazines in the 1960s suggested that Fw 190Ds were used by the Israelis in the 1948 War of Independence. This may be a garbled interpretation of reports of the Avia S199 - an aircraft based on the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

Hawker Fury
The monoplane Hawker Fury was operated by Iraq and Egypt (one only) during the War of Independence - but not Israel.

IAI Barak
The name 'Barak' ('Lightning') has been reported in some publications to have been assigned to a number of French-built Mirage IIICJ aircraft which were re-engined with the J79. There is no evidence that such an aircraft existed.

IAI Lavi
The Lavi ('Lion') was an F-16 class advanced fighter-bomber, designed and built in Israel, which first flew on 30th December 1986. In a rare display of political muscle regarding Israel, the USA forced the cancellation of the project in August 1988, in favour of more F-16s. Only two protypes were completed.

McDonnell Douglas F-4B Phantom II
Reports that a number of US Navy F-4B Phantoms were supplied to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War are false. However, one Israeli pilot's (Hebrew) autobiography refers to the loan of some RF-4Bs by the US Navy's Sixth Fleet. Note: Only 46 RF-4Bs were built, for use by the US Marine Corps. Some did make occasional carrier deployments, but it remains to be seen if any made it to the Mediterranean.

Miles Falcon
A Miles M.3A Falcon Major was obtained by the Palestine Aviation Co 'Aviron', Lydda in March 1940 as VQ-PAO, but sold to Egypt in 1947, where is was later written off. Was previously G-ADHH (c/n 181), first registered on 28.5.35 to D. W. Gumbley, Heston.

Miles M.65 Gemini
Gemini 1A G-AKEP (c/n 6493, initially registered on 19.9.47) was obtained on 26 May 1948, and delivered to Israel on 9 June 1948. It was soon damaged in a take-off accident, and did not fly again until 29 May 1949. It was registered 4X-ACK in May 1950 and remained in civilian hands until withdrawn from use in 1957.

Short Scion
Two S.16 Scions (VQ-PAA and VQ-PAB) and a S.22 Scion Senior (VQ-PAD, c/n S.810 ex G-ADIP and VT-AHI) seaplane were operated by Palestine Airways Ltd between 1934 and the Summer of 1940. These aircraft were then impressed into the RAF's Lydda Communications Flight (S.22 as Z7187 in August 1940). All three aircraft were written in RAF service during the war.

Sikorsky S-61R/HH-3
Reports by the Institute of Strategic Studies have included references to the Israeli use of the HH-3 combat SAR helicopter. The IDF/AF has never operated this type.

Sikorsky CH-62
Two "CH-62"s are reportedly used for transport duties by the IDF/AF. This is unlikely to refer to the Sikorsky S-62, a single engined helicopter used by the US Coast Guard. The real H-62 was the Boeing Heavy Lift Helicopter (HLH). There was a prototype of the HLH built, but it never flew, due to gearbox problems.

Zlin XII
A Zlin XII (VQ-PAP) was purchased by Irgun in 1945. Upon the formation of the Sherut Avir, its registered owner applied to join, but was rejected by the Haganah due to political differences between the two rival organisations. It was subsequently used to assist Irgun forces in the fighting prior to independence, but was written off in late April 1948.

In addition, the following types were evaluated by Israeli pilots, but not subsequently procured:
Supermarine Attacker, SAAB J-29, Vought F-8D/E Crusader.



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First Created: 4 January 1998 - Last Revised: 2 October 2004
Copyright © 1998 John Hayles.     e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk