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ISR70 042018 sees the 70th birthday of the State of Israel. Over the years, both allies and enemies would agree, they built up a very potent air force (Heyl Ha'Avir). Four F-16C aircraft of 117 squadron, the "First Jet" squadron, took off from Ramat David to on a training mission.The anniversary prompted us to give a short overview of some of the festivities and highlight the latest and primary assets.

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Helicopters have always played a pivotal role in the tactics of the armed forces of Israel. Although the AH-64D Saraf is a potent machine to start with, the Israel Air and Space Force, added some indigenous systems as well. Ramon Air Base houses them, like this 190 "Magic Touch" squadron one.

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Arguably the most formidable punch is packed by the mighty F-15I Ra'am. The "Hammer" squadron, number plate 69, operates all of these out of Hatzerim Air Base. This particular example is parked at the static of Ramat David Air Base.

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Latest version of the F-16 is the F-16I Sufa, with an abundance of systems, bulges and knobs one would wonder if the result is aesthetically pleasing... Ramon houses three squadrons, but this is one from Hatzerim's 107 "Knights of the Orange Tail" squadron.

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The Independence Day celebrations saw large formations of aircraft fly around the country, saluting the major cities and commemorative locations. It was also the first appearance of the F-35I Adir to the public at large. The first to have toned down squadron markings, visible on the intake; Nevatim-based 140 "Golden Eagle" squadron can now better be called grey eagle...

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Over the last decade, the whole training fleet was replaced with pilots transiting to this T-6A Efroni of the Flight Academy at Hatzerim after finishing basic training on the Grob 120A Snunit at the same base.

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Progressing onward to the Italian-made M346I Lavi of 102 "Flying Tiger" squadron that can always be found to be very active indeed.

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Co-located at Hatzerim is 123 "Southern Bell" squadron with one of the many S-70 Yanshuf variants in use. Most are based at Palmachim Air Base though. If you want to haul much more, then the Sikorsky 65/CH-53 Yas'ur 2025 is the bird of choice.

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Tel Nof is the nest of these giants, 118 "Nocturnal Birds of Prey" squadron also hints at their Combat Search and Rescue role.

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Heyl H'Avir is in the process of renewing its transport fleet. 103 "Elephants" squadron currently uses six C-130J-30 Shimshon alongside the C-130H/KC-130H Karnaf.

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Scores of Beech 200s are used. Many are heavily modified for either eaves-dropping or jamming. But epitomizing the special warfare must be the odd looking modified Gulfstreams. The Nachshon Eitam version and this Shavit version, with its distinctive cannister and odd aerials, are operated by 122 "Nachshon" squadron from Nevatim.

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Flags were literally everywhere. On houses, lantern poles, cars. So it seems fitting to end with that very flag, until next time!