Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Israel Day 5 - IAF Museum - The Early French Jets

In the 1950's, Israel developed a good relationship with France and purchased jets needed to counter the Arab air forces that were arming themselves with Soviet Mig-15s, and in the case of Jordan and iraq, Hawker Hunters and other British fighters.

The Dassault M.D.450 Ouragan

The Ouragan was the first French production jet fighter aircraft. With a top speed of 510 knots. It was mainly used by the IAF in the ground attack role, it served in the Suez Campaign and the Six Day War. While it was mainly used for ground attack, as it was outclassed by the MiG-15, it could successfully engage earlier Arab jets, and on 12 April 1956, an Israeli Ouragan shot down an Egyptian de Havilland Vampire. On occasion it even held its own against MiG-15s, mainly due to the disparity in skill between the Israeli and Egyptian pilots.

The Dassault Mystere IV

France's first transonic aircraft with a maximum speed of 600 knots, 61 were operated by the Israeli Air Force in Fighter, Bomber,and reconnaissance roles and was a match for both the MiG-15 and MiG-17. It operated during both the Suez Crisis and the Six Day War.

The Dassault Super Mystere

A supersonic fighter-bomber and the first of these French aircraft to break Mach 1 in level flight, while The Mystere and Ouragan could do so only in a dive. 24 aircraft were sold to the Israeli Air Force in 1958. The aircraft saw action in the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The Sud-Ouest Aviation Vautour II

Three of these aircraft are on display at the museum - a IIA, a IIB and a IIN model.

A twin-engine fighter-bomber with a maximum speed of 597 knots, the Vatour was also used in the reconnaissance role, but typically performed in the bombing and strafing role in Israeli service as it was armed with four 30mm cannons in addition to its bombload.

Israel acquired 31 of these aircraft and they were used from 1958 through 1972 seeing action in the Six Day War and the War of Attrition.

The Vatour was notably used to bomb the Iraqi H-3 airfield during the Six Day Wear, and even got an air-to-air kill, shooting down an Iraqi Hawker Hunter fighter,

There's another French aircraft proved so popular that Israel not only purchased and operated it successfully in the Six Day War and beyond, but even created its own versions of it, and that's coming up next.

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