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||KIA||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|
|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|