Hobby Master HA3817 Israeli Defense Force General Dynamics F-16A Netz Fighter - 107 Squadron "Knights of the Orange Tail", Etzion AB, Raid on Osirak, June 7th, 1981 (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"
Even at the ripe old age of 20, the F-16 Falcon remains a fast and potent favorite among fighter pilots, and one of the best fighters in its class. Designed originally as a no-frills, single-engine "hot rod", the addition of improved radar and weaponry have made the Falcon a super, lightweight jet. Used mainly as a bomber, the Fighting Falcon can also turn-and-burn with unbridled fury when provoked. It is also one of the first operational fly-by-wire aircraft; its flight controls being electronically operated and computer controlled. A 20mm cannon, Maverick missiles, and laser-guided bombs make the F-16 a potent multi-role fighter. However, it's light weight, speed and agility make it the choice of the US Air Force's Thunderbirds aerobatic team.
On February 14th 1978 the US announced a package deal for selling arms to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which included the sale of 75 F-16's and F-15s to Israel in return for $1.9 billion. Israel was scheduled to receive the planes in mid-1981. Following the Shah's downfall and the rise of the Khomeini regime in Iran, the supply of 160 F-16's to Iran was canceled, and the Americans offered the Israelis their planes months before schedule.
The first four F-16's - two single seat A models and two tandem seat B models - landed in Israel on July 2nd 1980, and received a ceremonial welcome in an IAF base in northern Israel. The planes had been flown in to Israel in a flight that lasted 11 hours, with American pilots at the controls. They had been accompanied by a Phantom, and had carried out several midair refuelings. In Israel they were given the Hebrew name 'Netz'.
Pictured here is a gorgeous 1:72 scale diecast replica of a IDF General Dynamics F-16A Netz fighter that was attached to 107 Squadron "Knights of the Orange Tail", then participating in the Raid on Osirak in Iraq during 1981.
Release Date: September 2013
Historical Account: "Operation Opera" - Operation Opera, also known as Operation Babylon, was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on June 7th, 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. This operation was after Iran's Operation Scorch Sword that damaged this nuclear facility months before.
In 1976, Iraq purchased an "Osiris"-class nuclear reactor from France. While Iraq and France maintained that the reactor, named Osirak by the French, was intended for peaceful scientific research, the Israelis viewed the reactor with suspicion, and said that it was designed to make nuclear weapons. On June 7th, 1981, a flight of Israeli Air Force F-16A fighter aircraft, with an escort of F-15As, bombed and heavily damaged the Osirak reactor. Israel claimed it acted in self-defense, and that the reactor had "less than a month to go" before "it might have become critical." Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed. The attack took place about three weeks before the elections for the Knesset.
The attack was strongly criticized around the world and Israel was rebuked by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in two separate resolutions. The destruction of Osirak has been cited as an example of a preventive strike in contemporary scholarship on international law.