Israeli Air Force MuseumPhotographer: Frank Grealish
25th June 2008Location:
Hatzerim AFB (LLHB), Israel
The Israeli Air Force Museum, which is located in the Negev desert at Hatzerim AFB, close to the city of Beersheba, contains over 100 aircraft.
Most of the aircraft on display were once operated by the Israeli Air Force although there are examples of aircraft that were operated by former enemies.
Some of these enemy aircraft were either captured during Israel's numerous wars or by defecting pilots landing in Israel, others were obtained by swapping aircraft with other museums or air forces to fill particular gaps in the museum collection.
A lot of the older aircraft in the museum are of European descent, with Meteors, Vatours, Mysteres, Fouga Magisters and Mirages / Kfirs making up a large bulk of the exhibits while the newer aircraft come mostly from the USA.
Among the rarer exhibits in the museum are the IAI Lavi and the McDonnell Douglas RF-4E(S) Kurnass.
The Lavi that is present, Prototype B-2, flew 28 times before being retired and is one of three examples of the aircraft to be built by IAI before the project was cancelled.
The RF-4E(S) is one of three specially converted RF-4E Phantoms that was used for long-range, high-altitude reconnaissance. It was able to reach Mach 2.4 and 78,000 feet.
A visit to the IAF Museum is highly recommended due to their extensive collection of not just aircraft but also air defence equipment & missiles. One word of caution though, if you visit in the summer months, like I did, make sure to bring lots of water as it gets very hot and it becomes an effort to finish walking around the collection.