Unit 669 Rescues Victims of Floods
It’s not every day that the combat soldiers of the search and rescue Unit “669′ are called to duty, and certainly not 7 times. In mid-January, it happened. The unit members rescued no less than 32 people from the floods.
Solo Flight of the “Efroni” Plane
A year and a half after the quartet of planes landed for the first time at Hatzerim IAF Base, the first flight course occurred in January with a solo flight of the “Efroni” plane. Responses from the flight? “It was so much fun!”
The First Soldiers of the “Iron Dome” System
In the coming months, the “Iron Dome” system will be placed throughout the State of Israel and integrated into the country’s defense against short-range missiles and rockets. The IAF soldiers sitting in the control room today are the soldiers that became the first official “Iron Dome” soldiers last February.
Delivery of the “Eitan” UAV
In February, the Israel Aerospace Industries delivered the “Eitan” UAV to the IAF, which is the UAV that reaches the highest altitude, travels the farthest, and is the largest in size in the IAF.
Rescue Mission to Haiti
A large earthquake struck Haiti in the Caribbean Islands. The Israeli delegation, one quarter of which was comprised of members of the IAF, treated over 1,000 wounded people, performed over 200 surgeries, and delivered 13 babies.
Mission “Spirit of the Skies”
Navy Commandos overtook 6 ships in May that were en route from Turkey to the Gaza Strip. Transport helicopters and intelligence aircraft participated in the mission that thwarted the attempt to block the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Retirement of the “Tzukit”
In June, 18 “Tzukit” planes were retired from the IAF after 50 years of service, officially replaced by the “Efroni” aircraft.
“Ofek 9” Satellite Launch
The launch of the military surveillance satellite “Ofek 9” occurred in June by the missile-testing unit of the Palmachim IAF base.
The satellite, made by the Israel Aerospace Industries, joined six Israeli satellites currently in space.
Crash of the “Yasur” Helicopter in Romania
An IAF “Yasur” (CH-53) helicopter crashed during a training exercise conducted in Romania in July. Four pilots, two helicopter technicians, and a Romanian observer were aboard the helicopter and were killed in the crash.
Aerial Display in Hungary
The IAF displayed its planes during an international exhibition held in August in Hungary, together with more than 20 air forces around the world. The exhibition included “Storm” (F-16I) planes of the “One” squadron, “Karnaf” (C-130) planes of the “Yellow Birds” squadron, and the combat search and rescue Unit 669.
Next generation combat planes are expected to arrive in 2015. In September, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet approved the continuation of negotiations regarding the purchase of US F-35 aircraft and opened the door for the next generation of manned combat planes of the IAF.
The Giants Reached the Hatzerim IAF Base
The sportsmanship of the IAF was shown in the Negev area when players of the NBA visited an IAF base in September. After visiting the Golan Heights, visiting many religious sites near the Sea of Galilee and Jerusalem, touring “Yad Vashem” Holocaust History Museum, meeting with President Shimon Peres, and touring Sderot, the NBA players toured the “Desert Birds” helicopter squadron.
Joint Training in Greece
For the first time in many years, the IAF joined the Greek Air Force for training. The exercise occurred in October over the Peloponnesus Islands and included both combat and transport helicopters. The IAF trained in unfamiliar airspace, over mountainous terrain, amongst various weather conditions, and with extended flights.
Helicopter Inspectors and Loading Mechanics Receive Recognition
After an argument lasting over five years, it was agreed in October that all of the auxiliary IAF personnel, including loading mechanics, would be recognized as combat soldiers. Apart from the semantic change, the soldiers will be entitled to higher compensation and improved rights.
Crash of the “Storm”
During a training flight in November, a “Storm” (F-16I) plane crashed in the Ramon Crater. Two crew members were killed.
Inaugurating Two Training Squadrons
The view from the window was not the same view as a training flight, when your feet are firmly planted on the ground and the dangers exist only in the computer. Training simulators are playing an increasingly larger role in the training of IAF soldiers. In November, two training centers were turned into official training squadrons.