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World Defense & Security News - Israel
Israel Air Force details future improvements for its F-16I Sufa fighter jets
The “Sufa” (F-16I) jets are the back bone of the Israel Air Force’s fighter division. 13 years after they arrived in Israel and with years of operational activity ahead of them, the aircraft’s operators, on the ground and in the air, met to discuss the future, the IAF said on March 7 on its website.
Israel Air Force details future improvements for its F 16I Sufa fighter jets 640 001One of the 100 F-16I Sufa fighter jets currently operated by IAF
(Credit: IAF)

The “Sufa” (F-16I) fighter jets perform about 11,000 flight hours a year; they are the back bone of the IAF’s fighter division and perform dozens of different kinds of missions, from strikes to photography and reconnaissance. Col. Oded, Commander of Ramon AFB explained that the “Sufa” (Hebrew for Storm) the IAF’s workhorse, is equipped with almost every capability in the IAF and is constantly updated with new capabilities. “We’re counted on in combat”, he added.

This month, power buildup personnel from IAF HQ and operators of the aircraft from Hatzerim and Ouvda AFB congregated in order to discuss the jet’s operational and maintenance concepts. They also discussed the impending changes that will be made in order to improve the aircraft and befit it to the coming decades. “This is a chance to take a wide look at the ‘Sufa’ division. Besides discussing the division’s activity, we would like to learn from one another about daily dilemmas regarding routine and periodic maintenance of the aircraft. We want to make decisions that will extend the life of the aircraft in the future”, shared Brig. Gen. Avshalom, Hatzerim AFB Commander. “Proper maintenance culture indicates qualities of command, professionalism and long term planning”.

The “Sufa” jets are currently undergoing a “face lift” process, which will result in a more advanced version of the aircraft and include improved systems. The process’ production line has opened in Hatzerim AFB with the goal of renewing all of the aircraft’s avionic systems by 2020. The project began in the passing October and is operated entirely by civilian entities. About five improved “Sufa” jets have already been reintegrated in their operational squadrons.

Israel Air Force details future improvements for its F 16I Sufa fighter jets 640 002One of the 100 F-16I Sufa fighter jets currently operated by IAF
(Credit: IAF)
The ‘Sufa’ division has been taken to the next level, to a division that has been operating for over a decade, this is of significance”, shared Lt. Col. Ziv, Commander of the “One” Squadron. “When we look at the systems that serve us, such as compression and air conditioning, the fuel tanks that provide us with long-range flight capabilities and navigation and self-defense systems, we must differentiate between war and routine scenarios. In combat they will operate in much higher intensity”.

In the former Progress Meeting, number of projects the Material Directorate dealt with in cooperation with on-base maintenance personnel in accordance with maintenance, safety and operational needs were discussed. One of these projects was a joint project with the USAF whose goal was to prevent malfunctions that cause accidents when landing. “The IAF is the first in the world to integrate the system improvement, which was recently applied on a number of ‘Sufa’ jets for the sake of an evaluation which will examine its impact”, said Capt. Or Dekel from the Material Directorate.

In the future, a number of “Sufa” Squadrons from Ramon AFB are expected to receive the advanced SPICE 1000 guided bombs, which were first integrated in Ramat-David AFB’s fighter squadrons last year. The electro-optic weapons, manufactured by "Rafael", have deep-penetration, accuracy and threat-immunity capabilities. It is equipped with improved software and algorithm systems and advanced detection and processing capabilities. The SPICE 1000 bombs also have real-time maneuver and reaction capabilities when facing stationary and mobile targets. “The weapon is adapted to the new battlefield, the various threats and the changing arena”, testified Avi Danon, the Project and Development Manager in "Rafael".

(Source: IAF/Tal Giladi)