Hobby Master HA3873 Israeli Defense Force General Dynamics F-16D Fighter - 109 Valley Squadron, 2006 (1:72 Scale)
"In striking Iraq, Israel showed that a preventive strike can be made, something that was not in doubt. Israel's act and its consequences however, make clear that the likelihood of useful accomplishment is low. Israel's strike increased the determination of Arabs to produce nuclear weapons. Arab states that may attempt to do so will now be all the more secretive and circumspect. Israel's strike, far from foreclosing Iraq's nuclear future, gained her the support of some other Arab states in pursuing it. And despite Prime Minister Begin's vow to strike as often as need be, the risks in doing so would rise with each occasion."
- Kenneth Waltz, an American political scientist. discussing the Raid on Iraq's nuclear facility known as "Osirak"
The F-16I is a two-seat variant of the Block 52 developed for the Israeli Defense Force Air Force (IDF/AF). Israel issued a requirement in September 1997 and selected the F-16 in preference to the F-15I in July 1999. An initial "Peace Marble V" contract was signed on January 14th, 2000, with a follow on contract signed on December 19th, 2001, for a total procurement of 102 aircraft. The F-16I, which is called Sufa (Storm) by the IDF/AF, first flew on December 23rd, 2003, and deliveries to the IDF/AF began on 19 February 2004. The F-16I has an estimated unit cost of approximately US$70 million (2006).
The F-16I's most notable difference from the standard Block 52 is that approximately 50% of the American avionics have been replaced by Israeli-developed avionics (such as the Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy replacing the ALE-50). The addition of Israeli-built autonomous aerial combat maneuvering instrumentation systems enables the training exercises to be conducted without dependence on ground instrumentation systems, and the helmet-mounted sight is also standard equipment. The helmet-mounted sight, head-up display (HUD), mission computer, presentation computer, and digital map display are made by Elbit Systems of Israel. Furthermore, the F-16I is able to employ Rafael's new Python 5 imaging infrared-guided high-agility air-to-air missile. The F-16I also has the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)-built removable conformal fuel tanks (CFT) added to extend its range; removal takes two hours. Key American-sourced systems include the F100-PW-229 turbofan engine, which offers commonality with the IDF/AF's F-15Is, and the APG-68(V)9 radar
Pictured here is a gorgeous 1:72 scale diecast replica of a IDF General Dynamics F-16D fighter that was attached to the 109 Squadron during 2006.
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Historical Account: "The Valley" - Israel formed the 109 squadron in July 1951, composed of the Mosquito FB.6 and PR.16 aircraft. The Mosquito aircraft had a number of structural problems, which led to the disbanding of the 109 squadron for several months in 1956, until it was reformed with new Mystere IVA aircraft in August 1956.
The reformed 109 squadron took part in the Six Day War of June 1967, but suffered several losses. Before the end of the year, the 109 squadron became the first Israeli squadron to operate the A-4H, which it used to conduct a bombing run on terrorist bases in Jordan. The squadron saw action in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, and in 1977, the unit was converted to the Kfir C-1.
In the early 1980s, the 109 squadron was upgraded to the Kfir C-2, which conducted attacks against PLO and Syrian positions in 1982. In 1991, The 109 squadron received more than two dozen F-16C aircraft, bringing it up to the level of the 110 squadron. As of 2005, the 109 squadron flew exclusively F-16D aircraft.