Hobby Master HA3818 Israeli Defense Force General Dynamics F-16I Sufa Fighter - 107 Squadron "Knights of the Orange Tail", Etzion AB, July 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 14 January 2000 with a follow on contract signed on 19 December 2001 for a total procurement of 102 aircraft. The F-16I, which is called Sufa (Storm) by the IDF/AF, first flew on 23 December 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The F-16I's most notable difference from the standard Block 52 is that approximately 50% of the American avionics have been replaced by Israeli-developed avionics (such as the Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy replacing the ALE-50).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-16I Sufa fighter that was attached to 107 Squadron "Knights of the Orange Tail" during 2006.
Release Date: October 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.