Armour Collection B11E757 Israeli McDonnell F-15A Baz Meshopar Fighter - 133 Tayeset, Tel Nof Airbase, Operation Opera ("Raid on Tammuz 1"), Osirak, Iraq, June 7th, 1981 (1:48 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
It's the fighter pilot's dream. The McDonnell Douglas F-15 is fast, amazingly agile and climbs like a rocket. It can "zoom-climb" to an astonishing altitude of 98,400 feet, and reach its normal operating ceiling of 59,000 feet -- flying at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound -- in just two minutes. With the best combat radar in the world, it can detect and destroy enemies way beyond the pilot's visual range. Despite its huge size, the F-15's maneuverability makes it a ferocious dogfighter when the encounters get close and dirty. That's why nearly 100 enemy aircraft have fallen victim to the F-15, while no Eagle has ever been lost in aerial combat.
In 1974, the IAF assembled a test team for choosing an air dominance plane that would ensure the IAF's superiority over the Arab air forces for years to come. The candidates were the F-14 and the F-15, both of which were flown in the US by IAF pilots, who tested maneuverability, weapons systems and flight characteristics. The test team decided unanimously that the F-15 was a better plane, and one that could determine the shape of the battle and attain victory against every type of plane in the Arab arsenals. In July 1976, the F-15 Squadron's founding crew was sent to a retraining course in the US. The crew was headed by the man chosen to lead the squadron, now-General (res.) Eytan Ben-Eliyahu - who was IAF Commander. On December 10th, 1976, the first Baz (as they were already called) planes arrived in Israel. The fact that they landed on Friday evening, after the start of the Sabbath, caused a political crisis that toppled the first Rabin government and lost the Labor Party political power in Israel for the first time ever.
To date, the IAF F-15s have shot down 40 planes, all of them Syrian. On June 27th 1979, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Moshe shot down a Syrian MiG-21 in Lebanese skies. This was the first time an F-15 pilot had shot down an enemy aircraft. On February 13th 1981 an IAF Baz used an air-to-air missile to shoot down a Syrian MiG-25. Again, this was a worldwide first.
In 1995, Heyl Ha'avir embarked upon the 'Baz-2000' program for improving the F-15s and readying them for the battlefields of the 21st century. The program will involve thorough changes in the avionics systems (expected cost - $90 million) and is to be completed in the first years of the new decade. The improvements include upgrading the cockpit controls that display data received from the radar and additional sensors that the plane is fitted with. The old weapons computer will be replaced by a newer model, of the kind that will be installed in the F-15I's. At the end of the improvement process, the F-15s will be fitted with avionics on a level similar to that of the F-16's.
Pictured here is a stunning 1:48 scale diecast replica of an Israeli F-15 Eagle that was attached to the 133 Tayeset, then based at Tel Nof Airbase, which participated in Operation Opera ("Raid on Tammuz 1"), located at Osirak, Iraq, and conducted on June 7th, 1981.
Release Date: February 2008
Historical Account: "A Night at the Opera" - On June 7th, 1981, 8 IAF F-16A fighters covered by 6 F-15A jets flew in Operation Opera, the destruction of the Iraqi Osiraq nuclear reactor. Eight IAF F-16 fighters flew to Iraq and bombed the nuclear facilities of Osiraq. Among the pilots that took part in the attack was the late Colonel Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut. He died on Saturday, February 1st, 2003, when the US Space Shuttle Columbia he was riding on was engulfed in flames upon reentry. The attack was code named Operation Opera (sometimes also referred to as Operation Babylon or Operation Ofra) by Israel. The planes returned on almost no fuel.