Air Force special forces. Some Israeli Air Force raids
Material posted: Ponomarenko Oleg J.Publication date: 11-09-2015
Among shock operations of battle aircraft a little independently there are two known spot-checks of the Air Forces of Israel on objects of the nuclear industry of Iraq and Syria, carried out accordingly on June, 7th, 1981 and on September, 6th, 2007 These spot-checks were conducted out of any military campaigns, have been directed on concrete individual object, have been realised in one battle departure of small group of fighters, and, as a matter of fact, represented actions which before occurrence of such possibilities should carry out subversive groups. But the work similar carried out Israeli pilots, subversive groups hardly could carry out with the same efficiency, and in it one more uniqueness and exclusiveness of the modern Air Forces if they are up to the mark developments in armed forces of this or that country consists.

It is remarkable that the first of considered operations has been conducted with use of is free-falling bombs. These spot-checks are bright demonstrations and possibilities of modern battle aircraft, and its role in the modern world.

Operation Opera, on June, 7th, 1981

The beginning of the Iraq nuclear program concerns 1960 years, however essential successes in this direction has not been reached up to the end 1970 when Iraq has made an attempt to get the plutonium reactor at France. Iraq expected to get also and the reactor for fuel processing, but was refused. Nevertheless, France has agreed to put the research reactor and laboratories. Thus, Iraq by means of Europeans has begun a construction of object of the nuclear industry under 40-megavattnyj the reactor of type Osiris renamed in Osiraq - the name combining the name of type of the reactor and the name of the country.


Photo 1: F-16 the Air Forces of Israel, as of 2015, according to Flight International, as a part of the Air Forces was 76 F-16C, 99 F-16I (the Israeli variant F-16D Block 50/52) and 112 F-16A/B/D (a photo:

It is remarkable that during the irano-Iraq war on September, 30th, 1980 the pair of fighters Phantom F-4 the Air Forces of Iran from structure of the striking force attacking an industrial target arranged in this region, has struck a blow on a construction, but only insignificant damage has been caused.

Attempt of creation of the nuclear industry by the regional public enemy Israel posed for the last obvious threat in the future. By some estimations, Iraq from finding by the nuclear weapon separated the period approximately from 5 till 10 years, on another - from 1 till 2 years. Later it was taken for granted that in a reality the country was separated by one year from achievement of this purpose [1].

Diplomatic efforts have not given results. France showed purely economic interest, being at that time the basic supplier of arms to Iraq. Italy, being the supplier of the equipment and the heavy user of the Iraq oil with which Iraq paid off with Europeans, in every possible way denied participation in the project and too did not meet half-way arguments of Israelis. The USA divided estimations and concern of Israel, connected with radical change of possibilities of Iraq after the country will find the nuclear weapon. However to operate Americans refused.

In the Israel there was also an internal opposition to attempt of the military decision of the Iraq nuclear program. Fears were caused by possibility of the international isolation, economic embargo, association of the Arabian world, undermining of peace arrangements with Egypt, reciprocal actions on a nuclear facility of Israel in Dimone. Voices of supporters and opponents in a cabinet of ministers were divided approximately fifty-fifty. However approval by a cabinet of ministers of military operation nevertheless has been received after receipt of the prospecting information on an unloading of the enriched uranium of 90 kg from France to Iraq.

Psychological aspect of decision-making was as well that - as the prime minister of Israel Menahem Begin admitted to the chief of the Joint Staff R.Ejtanu, - he would not like to be the person at which life there could be a second Holocaust.

Various variants of realisation of operation on object destruction - special troops operation, a beaching, helicopter spot-check and spot-check of fighters F-4 were discussed. Complexities consisted, in particular, in remoteness of the purpose that demanded flight without a refuelling, and in absence of exact estimations concerning possibilities of air defence weapons of Iraq.

Operation was once postponed, term was transferred the next month.

On June, 7th, 1981 from air base in desert Negev the group of fighters has risen. In operation on reactor Osirak destruction it has been involved only 8 planes F-16 with cover from F-15 on the route unit, thus everyone F-16 carried on two uncontrollable 2000-funtovye bombs of Mk84 from which the purposes have reached 14 (from 16 dumped). Mission has occupied 3 hours of 10 minutes, from them work on the purpose - 80 seconds. During flight fighters have flown by over territories of Jordan and Saudi Arabia [2], using mainly flight at small heights for decrease in probability of detection RLS.

Remarkable circumstance was that the king of Jordan Hussein at the moment of leaving of group of the Israeli planes on the battle task had a rest on the yacht in gulf of Akaba. Having seen group of fighters, he has tried to warn Iraqis, but as it is informed, the message is not has reached the addressee (or, on other sources, it was not accepted seriously). Iraq air defence has been taken by surprise and has opened fire too late.

Successful fulfilment of mission has helped many countries. One of the most indicative estimations to concern June, 1991, when after War in the Gulf the Minister of Defence of the USA R.Chejni has transferred during visit to Israel to the commander of the Air Forces of Israel (at that time - in 1981) D.Ivri a memorable satellite photo with the destroyed reactor with the signature: «to General David Ivri, with gratitude and gratitude for outstanding work which it has made concerning the Iraq nuclear program in 1981 that has considerably facilitated our problem in operation Desert Storm in 1991» [3].

Operation Orchard, on September, 6th, 2007


Photo 2: F-15 the Air Forces of Israel, as of 2015, according to Flight International, as a part of the Air Forces was 42 F-15A/C, 25 F-15I (a shock variant of a fighter on the basis of F-15E Strike Eagle) and 16 uchebno-battle F-15B/D (a photo:

The situation with spot-check to Syria on September, 6th, 2007 - Operation Orchard, - was essentially similar to the Iraq scenario. The country with which Israel repeatedly was at war, had intentions to get access to nuclear technologies. In 1990 president Hafez Asad of that time undertook attempts of acquisition of research reactors out of the Western world, including at Russia, however they have not crowned success because of pressure of the USA. In 2006 the Israeli special services began to give special attention to attempts to reanimate the nuclear program of Syria. As the head who was at that time of CIA general M told to the correspondent of magazine The New Yorker. Hayden, suspicions were caused by the big not clear structure in desert in the northeast of the country [4]. In the first of March, 2007 agents Mossad have paid visit to the house of the head of the Syrian commission on atomic energy to Vienna, having stolen the valuable information from its computer. Among other Israelis arranged also a quantity of the photos made in object, allowing to identify it as a plutonium nuclear reactor. The object was approximately in kilometre from the river Euphrates and was ravnoudalen from border of Syria with Turkey and Iraq, placing on considerable distance from country big cities. Photos allowed to recognise presence in a building of North Korean experts. The general estimation of the Israeli investigation consisted that the such object could intend only for manufacture of a nuclear bomb, and construction elements, visible in photos, specified that the given type of the reactor represents a North Korean variant.

After special action in Vienna, on March, 8th, 2007 the head Mossad Meir Dagan (Meir Dagan) and other two high-ranking official have met the prime minister of Israel Ehudom Olmertom and was presented by the materials received as a result of the action. E.Olmert has attached very much great value of the received information and has made a decision about necessity of destruction of the reactor as soon as possible as in case of its start delivery of a strike on it will lead to a scale radiating contamination of Euphrates. But, probably, it was only one of pretexts or one of the reasons of decision-making.

Consultations of Americans about possible actions were conducted since April, 18th, 2007 when during visit of the Minister of Defence of the USA R.Gates to Israel the meeting with its vis-a-vis from the Israeli party A.Peres has taken place. The chief of Mossad and two assistants to prime minister E.Olmerta have been sent to Washington. Americans checked the information received from Israelis. In the USA during development of a policy concerning the arisen problem the adviser for S.Hedli's national safety has created a consultative group, and is remarkable that from the very beginning some members of group were sceptical about idea of a possible political solution of a problem of acquisition by Syria the nuclear weapon [5], as has proved to be true subsequently. The information Also is of interest that the result of war of 2006 in Gaza Strip has negatively affected, in particular, confidence of the US State Secretary To. Rice in possibilities of armed forces of Israel to perform effective military operations, having made impact thus and on decision-making process concerning the Syrian problem as the state secretary tended to question political settlement.

E.Olmert nevertheless hoped that the leading party in military operation will act as the USA, but it has not occurred. However, as the Israeli general remembered, «Olmert has told that he did not ask Bush to give"green"light, but Bush has not given Olmertu and"red". Olmert has apprehended it as"green".

As a result Israel has begun preparations for delivery of a strike by own forces. Three possible variants of realisation of attack to object were considered: the large-scale attack of air forces named Fat Shkedi by name of the commander by the Air Forces (Elizer Shkedi), the operation of the Air Forces limited on scales with code name Skinni Shkedi, and operation of the Israeli special troops. At planning that reason that if blow is accurately put and with smaller consequences there will be a probability of reciprocal actions of Syria less was considered.

It is important to note, as the factors, capable to influence decision-making on such actions were carefully considered. Psychologists on the basis of the information received from intelligence officers of armed forces of Israel, watching the president of Syria B.Asadom for many years, convinced that attempts to revenge from Syrians can be avoided, if character of operation does not put the president in position of the politician driven into a corner, to which does not remain anything other how to make a decision about accounting blow. The behaviour of the president in a course of war in 2006 when became obvious was considered also that B.Asad saw for itself certain benefits from non-interference to the direct military conflict to Israel. Realisation of the given reasons at a planning of an operation was promoted by a remote arrangement of object of an attack, and, accordingly, small probability of notable human victims and attention from the population.

Taking into account all these circumstances Armed forces, Mossad and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have preferred to choose the limited variant of blow on object. In June the group of the Israeli special troops has been thrown out in mile from the rector for carrying out of additional investigation, photographing, ground sampling.

On September, 1st, 2007 the White House has been informed by the Israeli party that preparations for operation are almost finished. - besides the USA, - the country which has been informed on forthcoming operation, Great Britain was unique. In plans has been devoted British MI-6, but neither Americans, nor Englishmen did not know exact time of planned blow. On September, 5th at meeting of an office on safety the decision on a conduct of an operation then the chief of the Joint Staff has been invited was accepted, recommending to carry out operation at the same night.

About midnight on September, 5th, 2007 from air bases, including air base Ramat David severo-to the east Haifa, four have risen in air F-15 and four F-16, and have headed for the north, following along coast of Mediterranean sea. Further planes have turned on the east and have gone in the area of the Turkish-Syrian border for decrease in probability of detection by a radar of air defence weapons of these countries and having applied means REB against Syrian air defence. Approximately about o'clock in the morning the signal «Arizona», meaning has been received that in 17 tons of ammunition the group of fighters has successfully hit the target, having destroyed object and without having suffered thus losses [6].

As well as it was supposed, reaction of the Syrian party has not followed. Presence of such object, no less than character of the put damage was favourable to deny B.Asadu. It it shunned necessity to answer with blow on blow. It was officially informed only that the intruded planes of the Air Forces of Israel were counteracted by forces of air defence of the country, having compelled them to leave air space of Syria, having dumped battle loading in deserted district. Israel has helped with B.Asadu's this plan, without advertising event and having agreed with allies - including in the Arabian world (in particular, with Egypt and Jordan), - about nondisclosure of the information given to it.

Both spot-checks represent extremely interesting examples. The Air Forces in both cases have been chosen as unique capable effectively to carry out a problem the tool, and they with it have consulted. We will notice that Israelis have refused fulfilment of a problem by forces of a special purpose though as it has been told, such subdivisions were thrown out in region of object and problems providing delivery of a strike carried out. Important feature is fulfilment of such spot-checks by planes of tactical aircraft. It is clear that in the conditions of a concrete battlefield of their possibility have the borders, but in the considered examples strategic problems have been carried out by tactical fighters.

And one more weighty circumstance - as a matter of fact, is not of great importance, what role played or could play the destroyed object in the potential nuclear program of Syria. Americans, analyzing given by Israel before operation the prospecting data, and have not come to a certain conclusion that Syria can be at present at a stage of creation of a nuclear bomb, giving reasons it absence of a solid data about others necessary for this purpose objects and the data about working out of battle units [7]. But such confidence of the strategic plan also is not necessary, as the American policy in non-distribution sphere, on expression of the expert of Fund Carnegie (Ariel Levite), was characterised by words «too early, too early - oops, - too late …» [8]. Israel worked on anticipation, destroying fruits of long-term and expensive efforts of the regional contenders on acquisition of possibilities which could change a balance of power considerably.

And other spot-checks


Photo 3: F-35 makes dump UAB GBU-12 Paveway II with laser GSN during tests for air base Edwards (California). Acquisition of these cars by Israel will allow the country to strengthen even more unique shock possibilities of the battle aircraft in region. By data for September 2015, the USA have approved delivery of 75 units, from them contracts on 33 are signed, acquisition of 50 cars in a usual variant (F-35A) is planned, and remained 25 can be got and in a variant of the truncated take-off and vertical landing (F-35B, STOVL) (the Photo:

Israel always adhered and continues to this day practice of the dot accented blows on objects of military or potentially military infrastructure of the opponents, irrespective of its arrangement in remote territories of the independent states.

Sudan known as a reloading point of weapon contraband and a place of basing of insurgents of al Kaide, repeatedly was exposed to blows of the Air Forces of Israel. In January 2009 approximately in 200 km to the south of border with Egypt aviablow on an escort from 17 trucks with the weapon, going to Gaza Strip has been put. On April, 5th, 2011 the air strike in the disctrict of the city of Port Sudan had been amazed the car with the influential illegal dealer the weapon. On October, 24th, 2012 in the country centre, near Khartum, the factory on an armament production in a place of Jarmuk (Yarmouk) [9] has been destroyed by bombing. On a place of explosions on the basis of the analysis of satellite pictures it has been identified 6 deep 30-metre funnels, 40 sea containers, 2 buildings have presumably been destroyed and damaged still an order 20. Object of blow the military man slad included, a tank farm and factory of ammunition [10]. Stratfor notices in the analysis that on a way to the purpose extent of a route in air space of Sudan has made 800 km that shows possibilities of the Air Forces of the state Israel. Earlier example of similar distant blow is bombing by Israelis of headquarters OOP in Tunis in 1985.

In 2013 blows have been struck to prospective supply bases of Hezbollah group in territory of Syria, and also as it was informed, on a headquarters of 104th brigade of Republican Guards, on 4th division which the brother B.Asada commanded. Blows were painful and had character also psychological influence on the officer case of the Syrian army. They had the purpose also to demonstrate to Syrians that the damage can be still big if not to change their approach to support of the Antiisraeli forces [11].

On January, 19th, 2015 it was informed on liquidation vysopostavlennogo the Iranian military adviser - general Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, - in territory of Syria where it has been directed for assistance to Hezbollah group. During visiting of one of southern regions of Syria the group accompanying the general, has been attacked by the Israeli helicopter, the general and other six military men [12] as a result were lost.

Thus, separate operations of the Air Forces of Israel, conducted out of military campaigns and concerning the remote purposes which achievement in many cases demanded crossing of several borders, brightly show exclusive possibilities of the Air Forces to operate as against industrial and military facilities, and personally against the high-ranking leaders of the opponent. Certainly, such work demands also certain level of the Air Forces, and corresponding providing work of intelligence investigation, forces of a special purpose, but the fact of the choice made Israelis, as well as the reached results, speaks about certain indispensability of the Air Forces in sphere of such operations.


[1] Israel's Wars AND Operations: Operation Opera - Raid on Iraqi Nuclear Reactor. -

[2] Jonh T. Correll. Air strike at Osirak. Air Force Magazine, April 2012, p. 60-62.

[3] Israel's Wars AND Operations: Operation Opera - Raid on Iraqi Nuclear Reactor. -

[4] David Makovsky. The Silent Strike. - The New Yorker, September 17, 2012. THE RIVER 34.

[5] David Makovsky. The Silent Strike. - The New Yorker, September 17, 2012. THE RIVER 36.

[6] David Makovsky. The Silent Strike. - The New Yorker, September 17, 2012. THE RIVER 38.

[7] David Makovsky. The Silent Strike. - The New Yorker, September 17, 2012. THE RIVER 36.

[8] David Makovsky. The Silent Strike. - The New Yorker, September 17, 2012. THE RIVER 37.

[9] Sudan Accuses Israel of an Airstrike in Khartoum. Analysis. October 26, 2012. -

[10] Satellite pictures suggest Sudanese weapons factory hit by air strike. -

[11] Daniel L. Byman, Kenneth M. Pollack, Michael Doran, Natan Sachs, Suzanne Maloney, Salman Shaikh, et al. Around the Halls: Israel's Airstrikes in Syria. May 7, 2013 -

[12] Saeed Kamali Dehghan. Top Iranian general and six Hezbollah fighters killed in Israeli attack in Syria. -


Oleg Ponomarenko

Tags: assessment , tactics , armed forces , Israel , Special Forces