Today, a farewell ceremony will be held for the fighter jet that was the backbone of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) for many years. The ceremony will take place in the Ovda airbase and will include a symbolic last flight.

The Hawk

The Hawk Photo Credit: Issachar Reus\Channel 2 News

Today (Monday), a farewell ceremony for the F-16A fighter jet, known as ‘the Hawk’, will be held at the Ovda airbase. The fighter jet became the backbone of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and was used throughout many of Israel’s historical operations.

‘The Hawk’ arrived in Israel in January, 1980. The aircraft was supposed to be sold to Iran by the US after the Iranians ordered 160 planes. The planes were never delivered because of the Islamic Revolution and ended up being sold to Israel. Today, after 4 decades, the F-16A will step down and will be replaced by the F-35 stealth planes.

The most famous attack that was carried out with the F-16A was Operation Opera in 1981, when a formation of 8 ‘Hawks’ were sent to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Ilan Ramon was one of the pilots and later became the first Israeli astronaut. Since then, the aircraft was used in various operations.