This week, the “Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron celebrated 63 years. By using old weaponry and reducing the radar’s abilities, the aircrews reenacted an attack on the Tanta airport. “Our history is a big part of our continuity process and the continuity of defense of the country”

Shahar Zorani | Translated by: Ofri Aharon

Soldiers, officers and reservists met at the “Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron to celebrate 63 years in service as part of a new tradition that began last year that was initiated by the commander of the squadron. Throughout the event, which is called “Day of the Orange Knights”, the aircrews reenacted the attack operation on the Egyptian Tanta airport as it occurred in the 1973 “Yom Kippur” War, as they tried to turn the young F-16I to the F-4 “Phantom” by using old weaponry and reduction of the radar’s abilities and were told the story of the attack by veterans of the squadron that took part in the operation.

The Orange Symbol, its Aircraft and People

“Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron “Phantom” aircraft landing

The attack , which was conducted by the IAF against the Egyptian Air Force, began on October 14, 1973, on the ninth day of the war. The goal of the operation was to attack military airports in the heart of Egypt, rooting from the understanding that it would make the Egyptians stay and defend their bases instead of leaving for attack.
Due to the launch of Egyptian interceptors, the IAF fighters-bombers were coerced to conduct “Dogfights” and were unable to finish their mission and as such, returned home.

“It is important for us to learn from the good things and especially from the less good things”, stated Lt. Col Tomer, commander of the squadron as he invited two senior squadron members who told the young generation about the operation, the challenges and concerns.

“Many of the elements you told us about, guide us day-to-day in operational activities: the flight crew, the surprise element and team work. We learn from these stories and they give us so much”.

The Orange Symbol, its Aircraft and People

Yossi Yairi, senior navigator from the squadron toasting to 63 years in service | Photo by: Ayelet Eder

For over 60 years, the “Knights of the Orange Tail” squadron has been in the heart of operational activity. The squadron was established in 1953 in Ramat David Airbase operated Spitfires and has since been active with multiple platforms, executed thousands of sorties and participated in dozens of operations.

“The squadron’s history is continuous and has guided Israel’s history”, stated Lt. Col. Tomer. “The squadron is our second family, thus it is important for us to know its history and respect it. We are part of a process of succession and continuity of defense over Israel, this continuity will not stop until there is peace in the Middle East. There is no one to do the work instead of us, so we will always seek ways to improve. We work around the clock and are deployed every hour for crucial sorties for the security of the state. This is us: the orange symbol, the aircraft and the people who can’t be replaced”.


The Orange Symbol, its Aircraft and People

“The squadron is our second family, thus it is important for us to know its history and respect it” | Photo by: Ayelet Eder