2004 February 19th

Approximately five years after the IAF decided on their purchase, accompanied by two F-16A ("Netz") jet fighters, the first two F-16I jets disrupt the Negev silence. Before landing on Israeli soil, one of the aircrafts performs a "touch and go" procedure, following the landing of both aircrafts for the first time at the IAF base in Ramon.

The new aircraft is equipped with conformal fuel tanks (CFT) that extend its flight range and enhance its ability to stay in the air without compromising other flight performances, an APG-68(V)X synthetic aperture radar (SAR) which enables tracking ground targets at any weather, day or night, and avionic systems which were developed according to specific demands made by the IAF and the Israeli Defense Industries. These systems are upgradeable and designed with the possibility of being updated in the future.

The two aircrafts began their long journey (a total of 21 hours) at the "Lockheed Martin" aeronautics company in Fort-Worth, Texas.  The jets took off for a long flight to the halfway pit stop at the Azure Island west of Portugal.

Following a few hours' leave on the ground, they continued on their way to Israel.

The jets were manned by United States Air Force pilots and Israeli airman from the new founded F-16I Squadron.

Present in the ceremony were the minister of defense, Shaul Mofaz, the Chief of Staffs Lt. General Moshe Ya'alon and the commander of the IAF at the time, General Danny Haluz. The honored entourage attached the symbol of the Negev squadron to the aircraft's tails, thus making them an official part of the IAF.



The F-16I nicknamed "Sufa" (Storm) is manufactured by "Lockheed Martin" and equipped with a "Pratt & Whitney" engine as well as advanced systems developed in Israel according to the IAF's specifications by the country's defense industries.

Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT)
- These tanks are manufactured by the  "Israel Aircraft Industries"  and increase the aircraft's amount of internal fuel by 50%. Their purpose is to significantly prolong the aircraft's flight range and ability to remain in the air. The tanks are installed the plane's back and conform to it's figure.

AGP-68(V)X Radar - Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) enabling the tracking of ground targets day or night, at any type of weather. The radar improves target-tracking performance and allows for automatic targeting instead of manual, thus saving valuable time. The radar also features improvements in the field of aerial targets including aquistion range and tracking quality.

Helmet Mounted Cueing System - An Israeli development. On top of the goggles which F-16I pilots and navigators wear is displayed various aircraft information such as height, speed and weapon systems data. This data be linked to the system, enabling the weapons to be launched on an enemy target using sight only. In addition, a camera mounted in the helmet records that which the pilot views allowing examining what the pilot saw in flight during debriefing.

Dorsal spine Avionics Compartment - An integral part of the advanced systems installed in the plane was developed precisely to the IAF's specifications by the country's defense industries. According to the IAF's traditions, The F-16I is equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems developed in Israel. These systems are improved models based on those installed in the F-15I. The aircraft features advanced Israeli communication systems as well.

600-gallon wing tanks - Improving the aircraft's range and persistence. The tanks are mounted on unejectable supports.

Satellite communication - The F-16I features two new communication devices manufactured by Elta and Rafael, including a UHF radio with new encoding methods and long distance relay capabilities.

F16I Airplanes Resume Active flying

The F16I (Sufa) airplanes are returning today to active flying after it was proved that risk to the air crew members is extremely low. This act was approved by the Air Force Commander, Major General Eliezer Skedi.

The technical and medical information regarding the spreading of the dangerous material to the cockpit was presented to Sufa air crew members and technical workers in a conference yesterday evening, April 27th, 2008. In light of the findings, it was stated that Sufa airplanes will return to be operational after they were grounded on March 20th, 2008, following air crew complaints regarding side effects caused by oxygen system and by the formaldehyde level that was above the international environmental standard.

During this period, special working teams which consisted of experts, Air Force reservists and regular soldiers, were looking into a few issues and series of experiments were conducted in cooperation with the producing company, Lockard Martin, in order to define the source of the problem and examine possible solutions.

A thorough check that included all Sufa airplanes has discovered that only in seven planes the level of formaldehyde was higher than the international standard. In these planes there will be no future flights. In addition, a sample of all kinds of airplanes was checked and no similar problem was discovered.

Regarding the exposure of Sufa members to the formaldehyde material, it was discovered that risk is extremely low. In part of the airplanes special filters were installed for inspection.

The working teams will continue their work to prompt the findings of the phenomenon causes and search for a long term solution.


Israeli Pay-Loads
Short Range Air-to-Air Missile
Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile

Stand-Off Precision Strike Missile
Popeye Lite (Have Lite)
Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile

Stand-Off Precision Guidance Munition (PGM) Kit

Stand-Off Tactical Air Launched Turbojet-Powered Decoy
Modular Stand-OFF Vehicle

Day/Night Navigation and Targeting Pod


Litening is a combat-proven multi-spectral airborne targeting and navigation pod.  It is designed for navigation and target illumination to improve day and night attack capabilities.  Litening presents pilots with real-time, Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) and Charge Coupled Device (CCD) imagery.  The high sensor resolution enables pilots to reliably identify the combat objects and consequently to avoid collateral damage.  It is fully operational 24 hours a day and in adverse weather conditions.

The sensors are incorporated in a single pod and provide the fighter aircrew with the flexibility to perform multiple missions/tasks including:

  • Laser spot detection enabling co-operative missions with target hand-over
  • Laser marking for co-operative missions with Night Vision Goggles (NVG)
  • Performance of low level night flights (navigation)
  • EO Point and Area Tracker & Inertial Tracker
  • Identification of aerial targets from Beyond Visual (BV) ranges
  • Detection/Recognition/Identification/Laser designation of surface targets
  • Accurate delivery of laser guided bombs; GPS guided munitions, cluster and general purpose bombs and reliable damage assessment
  • Integration capability to all Aircraft
Day/Night Electro-Optical Reconnaissance Pod


The RecceLite is a self-contained self-cooled multi-sensor tactical reconnaissance system, consisting of an airborne pod based on the Litening Targeting and Navigation Pod and a ground exploitation station.

The RecceLite simultaneously collects Infra-Red (IR) and Visual (VIS and near IR) digital images within a very wide field of regard, in accordance with an automatic mission plan and/or manual operation. The images and the data annotation are recorded on a solid state recorder and transmitted to the exploitation station via the RecceLite data link. The Images are then interpreted at the ground exploitation station.

The concept comprises a single pod system, with a single sensors payload having sensors in both IR (infrared) and VIS (visual and near infrared) wavebands, having three fields of view (FOV) in IR and four in VIS, and the capability to direct the line of sight of all sensors towards any direction in space (excluding aircraft obscurations).

The sensors are using large two-dimensional focal plane arrays (FPA) mounted on a 4-axis gimbals system, and images are captured by scanning with the gimbals, and taking snapshots of the targets area. The line of sight is accurately directed towards the targets area using an onboard inertial navigation system (INS), and motion compensation in all directions is achieved by locking the sensors line of sight on the region of interest (ROI) while capturing images. Motion compensation is using advanced inertial tracking and digital elevation maps (DEM) embedded in the pod.


Primary Role:

Multi-role fighter


Wingspan - 9.45 meters, With missiles - 10 meters. Length - 14.93 meters. Height - 5.10 meters


High altitude speed - Over Mach 2, Low altitude speed - 1,440 KPH


Empty - 10,000 Kg. Typical combat take-off (Fully fueled, with missiles and cannon ammunition ) - 12.8 tons. Maximum takeoff\touchdown weight: 23.5 tons.

Power Plant:

One Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 with a maximum trust of 29,1000 Lbs, Engine weight - 1,680 Kg, Thrust/Weight ratio - 8:1


Lockheed Martin




Python 5 heat seeking air-to-air missiles by Rafael. AMRAM (AIM-120) Radar guided missiles, Lightning targeting and naviagation pod, LANTIRN navigation pod, JDAMs bomb.