IDF shutters storied F-16 squadron as it pivots to more advanced aircraft

The Israeli Air Force shutters a squadron of F-16 fighter jets as part of the military’s Momentum Plan in a bid to free up resources for more advanced aircraft going forward.

Earlier this year, IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin picked the 117th First Jet Squadron, which flies F-16 jets out of northern Israel’s Ramat David airbase, for closure, ending the outfit’s 67 years of operation through all of the country’s wars but its first.

Illustrative. F-16 fighter jets from the Israeli Air Force’s 117th Squadron, which was closed on September 30, 2020, fly during an exercise in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

“This is a historic day in the air force, which is closing one of the most effective and storied squadrons in the force’s history today,” Norkin says at the closing ceremony at the Ramat David airbase.

“The ‘First Jet’ Squadron and its operations are an inseparable part of the history of the air force,” he says.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the 117th Squadron continued training and conducting operations until “the day of its closure” today.

The military adds that all the soldiers and officers in the squadron will continue serving in the air force.

— Judah Ari Gross

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