117 Squadron - The First Jet
Israel established the 117 squadron in June of 1953, and it was the first squadron to operate several variants of the Meteor jet, including the T.7 and F.8. The 117 squadron saw its first combat action in September 1955 when two Meteor jets shot down a pair of Egyptian Vampire aircraft in the Negev desert. The 117 also took part in C-47 escort missions as well as a number of air to ground attacks. In February 1962, the squadron was temporarily disbanded and its Meteor jets were transferred to the 110 squadron.
In April 1962, the 117 squadron was reformed and began flying the Mirage IIICJ. During the Six Day War, the 117 squadron destroyed twelve Egyptian aircraft while losing only three. In the War of Attrition, the 117 squadron lost five aircraft while logging 101 kills. By the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel had begun replacing the Mirage aircraft with the IAI Nesher, both of which were replaced by the Kfir C-1 and the F-15 between 1975 and 1976.
In 1981, eight F-16A aircraft from the 117 squadron took part in a successful mission that destroyed a nuclear facility near Baghdad, Iraq. Through the 1982 Lebanon invasion, Israeli F-16s conducted a number of attacks against Syrian MiGs, reporting 80 kills and thirteen losses. The 117 squadron was upgraded to F-16C and F-16D variant aircraft in 1987, with the older F-16 variants being assigned to other squadrons. As of 2005, the 117 squadron flew exclusively F-16C aircraft.