Israeli Ayits in Combat


Ayits in Combat

05 JUN 1967: Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt.

27 OCT 1967: Maiden flight of first A-4H with Test Pilot John Lane in the cockpit.

DEC 1967: First "IAF" Skyhawks become operational. April 1968 they are used in combat. Subsequently, additional orders are placed for a total of 90 A-4H aircraft.

15 FEB 1968: The Valley Squadron bombs Jordanian artillery positions on the Gilad Slopes.

04 AUG 1968: The Flying Tiger Squadron attacks the A-Salt region in Egypt.

MAR 1969 to AUG 1970: The War of Attrition" between Israel and Egypt. During the War of Attrition, the IAF faced a new threats from modern SAM sites and AAA batteries. IAF raids into Egypt resulted in the loss of many pilots.

19 AUG 1969: Flying Tiger Squadron C.O. Maj. Nissim Ashkenazy has to eject and is injured when his Skyhawk is hit. He is taken prisoner by the Egyptians. Another Flying Tiger Squadron Skyhawk was hit by AAA but makes it back to Refidim Air Base. Most of Lt. Moshe Meinik Skyhawk's tail is missing.

15 MAY 1970: Col. Ezra "Babban" Dotan flying an A-4 Skyhawk (side number 03) destroyed two Syrian MiG-17 aircraft over Lebanon using unguided rockets. Valley squadron aircraft 03 was lost 18 OCT 1973, the pilot was recovered.

AUG 1971: Installation of 30mm DEFA Cannons to replace the remaining 20mm cannons starts. The installation of the "KRISTAL" ECS System also begins. on the Skyhawks that require it.

06 OCT 1973: Yom Kippur War. Flying Tiger Squadron flying A-4H from Hatzerim, Valley Squadron flying A-4H from Ramat David, Kights of the North Squadron flying A-4E from Ramat David, Flying Dragon Squadron flying A-4N from Tel Nof and Flying wind Squadron flying A-4E and A-4N from Tel Nof. The Golden Eagle Squadron at Etszion was not yet operational, operating only a small number A-4E aircraft. The Flying School Advanced Training Squadron at Hatserim was equipped with A-4H and TA-4H aircraft, but was used as an aircraft resource source and did not fly combat sorties. 181 A-4 aircraft were available at the start of the war, with an additional 43 flown in during "Operation Nickel Grass". Losses of Skyhawks totaled 53 for 6 OCT to 24 OCT time period.

09 OCT 1973: Due to losses (49) incurred during the "Yom Kippur War",46 A-4E Aircraft were transferred to Israel from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Research place losses of Skyhawks at forty-eight. One of those losses was the C.O. of Ramat-David Air Base who was flying with the Knights of the North Squadron.
"Flight to Israel. Page 35 of the Spring 2006 issue of "The Hook" asked about the “unsubstantiated but frequently heard story (that) VA-45 Det 1 flying A-4L (reworked Charlies with a hump) Skyhawks on board” Roosevelt in 1973 delivered same to Israel. Perhaps VA-45 delivered some of the 65 A-4s which were sent between 1971 and 1973, but I believe the ones which arrived in Israel were all Echos. There were 29 flown there in October of 1973 and the following is how I remember a part of that delivery.
It was an AOM in early October 1973 when the skipper of VA-127 asked for volunteers to fly a special mission which would involve some danger. Nearly all of us instructors raised our hands. He proceeded to brief us on the general scope of the flights which was to deliver A-4s to Israel. Cdr. Tulley had some of the details, but he said all he knew for sure was we were to fly many of our own aircraft to Norfolk and we would receive further briefing there. Pack for a week he said.
VA-127 had been the instrument training squadron in Lemoore for quite some time. The A-7 drivers on their way to VA-125 or VA-122 were obligated to make a stop and fly our TA-4s under the bag to sharpen their scan (or humiliate these newly minted naval aviators). VA-125 switched from an A-4 RAG to an A-7 RAG when the powers that be decided no more A-4s would be going on cruises. Of course A-4s kept cruising, so VA-127 became the A-4 RAG to train pilots for each successive “A-4 Last Annual Cruise”. We had quite a cadre of fleet experienced A-4 pilots who taught tactics and CQed all sorts of junior and senior pilots who were slated to fly the Scooter on various 27C carriers still floating about in West-Pac. When we became the RAG we got the latest version of A-4Es and Fs including the P408 powered model which the Blue Angels flew after being “trained” at VA-127. Some of our flights demoing asymmetrical slat extension for the Blues were quite colorful, but that’s another story.
On October 17th we manned aircraft for the one stop hop to NAS Norfolk. Before doing so, we were issued new flight suits, flight jackets and parachute bags without any patches or insignia on them. The scope of the operation became more apparent when we saw how many A-4s were parked outside the Rework Facility there. Before long we were invited into a large briefing room where an Admiral took the podium and looked out at a small sea of JO faces. He gave us the plan and we asked a bunch of questions. We had another day or so while the Rework Facility took out the electronics we did not want to hand over to the Israelis. They also painted out all the markings on the A-4s except for the single star & bar on each side of the aft fuselage.
The plan was to launch in flights of 12 for the Azores with two KC-135s – one pathfinder and an extra to tanker us and then return to the East Coast. The flight from Norfolk to the Azores turned out to be my longest A-4 flight at 5.5 hours. We spent the night in Lajes and managed to find the O’Club. Meanwhile the maintenance guys had to try to straighten out a fuel probe or two which became slightly bent during our refueling with the 135s. The drogue on the 135s did not retract like the one on our buddy stores and some of the training command plough-backs who had joined us had never refueled from anything. They fixed the bent probes by doing some pullups with a few of the heaviest guys.
Next day we launched with loaded guns – the infamous A-4 20 MM. It held a couple of hundred rounds I think, but usually jammed after two – one each side. We were to rendezvous with a bunch of C-130 Marine tankers just outside of Gibraltar. To do so we of course had to descend and slow way down. As we passed by Libya an unnamed JO decided to make sure his guns actually worked. Of course he had to break right and pull up so as not to waste the rounds for the test. We were heading for the Roosevelt off the coast of Italy.
Aboard Roosevelt we were lucky enough to have another admiral brief us on the final leg of our mission. The most important part of which we all listened to very carefully. Israeli F-4s would escort us from their ADIZ to the intending landing field. We thought Wahoo! – some fighters to eat for lunch. In those days the only time an F4 was nearly invisible was when he was in burner and then he was out of gas. Anyway we launched and let the F4 find us and we landed without incident. I landed last because there was some doubt as to the status of my tail-hook. The dash-pot did not keep the hook from bouncing (that was the reason for my bolter the night before on Roosevelt – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), so by the time I landed the first two or three aircraft already had the stars & bars painted out and the Star of David as a new marking. When I was taxiing in I saw several gun emplacements with laundry hanging from the AAA barrel. Around the emplacement was a family (No shit – kids were playing in the yard). It seemed to me a family was assigned to provide the manning for this defensive piece of the war. No wonder the Israelis fight so hard – they literally were totally involved.
Next stop was the O’Club. Yep the Israelis followed our USAF flying brethren's lead and built the club before the runway. Our short stay at the O’Club was surreal and welcoming and thankful. As we ate the food they laid out for us and did our best to drink all their booze and we chatted with the pilots of the local squadrons. One guy said excuse me in the middle of a conversation and said he had to go brief for the afternoon launch. He had been drinking iced tea. Of course the same guy who took a shot at Muammar Khadafi tried to bribe one of their guys to take him in the back seat of the TA-4 they had. He would have had a better chance if he had been drinking iced tea like they were. We were then bussed over to climb on-board an empty C5 for a free ride to Maguire AFB. After several hours we all woke up and wandered about the aircraft a bit. Some of us ended up hitting baseballs in the cavernous empty space which likely had held needed supplies to prosecute a war just a few hours before. We all made our way home from Andrews by comair and enjoyed our brand new leather jackets. For some reason we did not consider the implications when we were issued new gear without any markings. Thankfully no one had to land someplace embarrassing. Sure enough we were home one week after we left." "Boom" Powell"

22 OCT 1973: Cease Fire was called for at 19:00 hrs, 22 OCT 1973. However, clashes between armed forces continued. On 26 OCT 1973, Skyhawks flew nearly 100 sorties in and around the Suez Canal. In the Spring of 1974 hostilities resumed in the north of Israel in the Mount Hermon sector. Air strikes peaked on 19 April 1974 when IDF/AF combat aircraft flew 308 sorties.

MAY 1974: Israel and Syria agrees to a cease fire, but Israeli air sorties continue over a district in Lebanon.

1974: tail pipe extensions are installed on the Skyhawk. The purpose of the extended tail pipe is clearly shown here. Moving the heat signature farther away from vital tail components increases the chance the a/c, and pilot, will come back to the hangar. Good example in image below.

08 JUN 1982: 1982 Lebanon War action saw the loss of an A-4 Skyhawk piloted by Captain Aharon Achiaz to a SA-7 Missile. Captain Achiaz survived but was captured.

2006: 2006 Lebanon War saw air strikes into southern Lebanon.

Reported Israeli Ayit (Skyhawk) Losses - all causes:

29 JAN 1968 A-4H   Ya'acov Agassi POW  
28 JUL 1969     Nissim Ashkenazi POW Egyptian SAM
13 MAR 1969 A-4H 18 Shmuel Yadid KWF  
19 AUG 1969          
19 AUG 1969          
09 SEPT 1969     Haqai Ronen KIA Egyptian AAA
16 JAN 1970     Dov Peleg KIA Egyptian AAA
01 MAR 1970     Nadav Israeli KWF Night Flight
20 JUN 1970         Egyptian MiG 21
30 JUL 1970     Avner Hadar (Horwitz) Killed  
02 APR 1971 A-4E 207 Uri Gadot Recovered Engine Loss
01 MAY 1971     Reuven Rot KWF Night Flight
03 OCT 1973 A-4E   Ami Goldshtein (Gadish ?) KWF Low level flt
06 OCT 1973 A-4H   Ehud Sadan KIA Egyptian AAA
06 OCT 1973     Matti Carp Recovered Egyptian AAA
06 OCT 1973 A-4H   Ishay Catziri POW Egyptian SA-7
06 OCT 1973     Yanki Yardeni Recovered Syrian SAM
06 OCT 1973     Evtan Hanan KIA Syrian SAM
06 OCT 1973     Gideon Sharon Recovered Syrian SAM
07 OCT 1973 A-4H   Libby Dollar KIA Egyptian SAM
07 OCT 1973     Ze'ev Nesher POW Syrian AAA
07 OCT 1973     Zvi Horovitz KIA Syrian SAM
07 OCT 1973 A-4E 211 Amon Shamir Recovered Syrian AAA
07 OCT 1973     Israel Rozenblum KIA Syrian AAA
07 OCT 73     Rafael Lev KIA Syrian SAM
07 OCT 1973     Moshe Astraicher KIA Egyptian AAA
07 OCT 1973     Shimon Ash MIA Syrian SAM
07 OCT 1973     Levi Bar-Ziv KIA Egyptian SAM
07 OCT 1973     Shai Avital KIA Egyptian SAM
07 OCT 1973     Yoram Lapidot KIA Egyptian SAM
08 Oct 1973     Zvi Rosen POW Egyptian SAM
08 Oct 1973     Zvi Bashan KIA Egyptian SAM
08 Oct 1973 A-4H   Gideon Ben Eliezer KIA Egyptian AAA
08 Oct 1973     Unknown Recovered Syrian SAM
09 OCT 1973     Gideon Sharon Recovered Syrian SAM
09 OCT 1973 A-4E 218 Lev “Zorik” Arlozor KIA  
09 OCT 1973     Mario Shaked KIA Egyptian SAM
09 OCT 1973 A-4E 209 Ehud Shelach KIA Syrian SA-3
09 OCT 1973 A-4E 204 Yaniv Litany KIA Egyptian AAA
09 OCT 1973 A-4E 821 Assaf Matos POW Egyptian AAA
09 OCT 1973 A-4H   Amon Gardi POW Egyptian AAA
09 OCT 1973 A-4H   Pedro Reinberg POW Egyptian AAA
10 OCT 1973 A-4E 241 Noach Hertz POW Syrian SAM
10 OCT 1973 A-4H "Valley" Yehuda Ben-Ari KIA Syrian SAM
11 OCT 1973     Itzhak Ofer KIA Syrian SAM
11 OCT 1973     Michael Shneider POW Syrian SAM
11 OCT 1973 A-4H   Amiram Guy POW Syrian SAM
12 OCT 1973 A-4H   Israel Baster-Bar KIA Syrian AAA
13 OCT 1973     Gavriel Garzon POW Syrian AAA
13 OCT 1973 TA-4   Ran Ofri / Yehuda Shefer KIA/recov Egyptian SAM
15 OCT 1973     Uknown Recovered Syrian AAA
15 OCT 1973     Gavriel Sa'ar KIA Syrian AAA
16 OCT 1973 A-4H 51 Menachem Eyal KIA Egyptian AAA
17 OCT 1973 A-4E   Maoz Poraz KIA Egyptian AAA
18 OCT 1973 A-4H   Gershon Reshef (Fonk ?) KIA Egyptian SAM
18 OCT 1973 A-4E   Geideon Sharon POW Egyptian SAM
18 OCT 1973 A-4H   Haim Gofen Recovered Egyptian SAM
18 OCT 1973 A-4H 03 Jacob Kubik Recovered Egyptian SAM
21 OCT 1973     Eitan Lahav KIA Syrian SAM
OCT 1973          
OCT 1973          
OCT 1973          
OCT 1973          
OCT 1973          
OCT 1973          
13 JAN 1974 A-4E 875 Shaul Recovered Mid-air F-4E
19 APR 1974 A-4E   Aryeh Dubnov KIA Syrian AAA
14 JUL 1974     Avraham Yakir KWF Night Flight
28 OCT 74   326 Yosef “Sefi” Levin KWF Bird Strike
12 NOV 1974 A-4N 347 David Recovered Gen Failure
09 JAN 1975 A-4E   Uknown Recovered Mid-air trng
09 JAN 1975 TA-4H   Amos Aharonov / HW Recovered Mid-air trng
21 Jan 1975     Menachem Eliyahu Recovered Lnd gr failure
29 FEB 1976   315 Moshe Gerev KWF Collision
06 JUL 1976     Avraham Baharav KWF Night Flight
17 DEC 1976   381 Simon Recovered  
07 FEB 1977     Dov Cohen KWF Crash at Sea
08 MAR 1977     Shai Cohen KWF  
24 JUN 1977     Avi Shani KWF Mid-air col
11 DEC 1977 A-4N 382 Yariv Gershoni Recovered Eng Failure
04 JUN 1978   319 Uriel Bina KWF Mid-air F-4E 860
15 JAN 1979     Unknown Recovered Bird Ingestion
14 OCT 1979 A-4N 339 Lion Goldenberg KWF  
15 JAN 1980 A-4N 388 Netanel Eldar KWF  
18 FEB 1980 A-4N 360 Yosef Gordon KWF Crash – mtn
18 FEB 1980 A-4N 355 Eitan Erez KWF Crash – mtn
18 DEC 1980 A-4E 879 Daniel Glazer KWF Crash-ops
04 OCT 1981     Eddi Lev KWF OPS
29 APR 1981 A-4N 348 Ilan G Recovered Mid-air
06 JUN 1982     Aharon Ahiaz POW Palestinian AAA
NOV 1982 TA-4 481 Amir / Kremer Recovered Eng Failure
01 MAY 1983 A-4N 374 Shraqa Recovered Mid-air F15D 975
04 MAY 1983 A-4N   “Y” Recovered Bird Strike
05 FEB 1984     Danny Insler KWF  
27 MAY 1984 TA-4H   Daniel Gury / Ilan Rozental KWF a/c failure
11 JUL 1984     Benyamin Wolfson KWF  
30 AUG 1992 A-4N 323 Ram Dagan KWF  
27 JUL 1998 TA-4H     Recovered Eng Failure
15 NOV 1998 A-4N 386   Recovered Eng Failure
11 FEB 2004 A-4N 396 “Y” Recovered Inflight Fire

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