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10 years ago today, the Israeli Air Force introduced its brand new iteration of the famed F-16 fighter plane – the F-16I. Known as the ‘Sufa’ (storm) in Hebrew, the aircraft was built in the U.S. but modified for the IDF’s unique needs with advanced systems designed and built in Israel.

By   /   February 19, 2014  /   No Comments

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What’s so special about the F-16? After all, fleets of F-16s exist in the air forces of nearly every western military. The F-16I ‘Sufa’, however, is different. The added ‘I’ stands for Israel, because it has been heavily modified to fit the specific needs of the Israel Air Force.

To make the pilot’s job as easy and effective as possible, the F-16I has been outfitted with cutting-edge weapons system hardware, a specially constructed radar system and a unique helmet technology that allows the pilot to launch weapons at an enemy aircraft using sight systems.  No wonder we nicknamed it ‘Sufa’ – that’s Hebrew for ‘storm’.

1. Preparations are underway

F-16i preparations

F16I planes from the “Bat” Squadron on Greek soil, 2012

2. Ready to board

F-16I female pilot

Major D. is the first woman in the IDF to fly a F-16I jet.

3. Waiting to take off

F-16I hangar

4. Guidelines from the ground crew

F-16I ground crew

5. Taxiing down the runway

Israeli Upgraded F-16I

6. Full speed ahead

F-16I runway

7. Flying High

F-16I in the air

The F-16I Soufa ’882′  on its final approach, arriving at the Kecskemét International Air Show, Hungary, in August 2010

8. Watching over the State of Israel

F-16I over Tel Aviv

Three IAF F-16I flighter planes perform a flyover of Israel, from north to south, in honor of Israel’s 63rd Independence Day.

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