Air International 2006-10
S.Aloni - Israeli Skyhawks /Military/
This IASF A-4N Ahit 342, sporting a Flying Tigers symbol on the fin, is the prototype AhitM which flew for the first time in its upgraded form in December 2004. This view clearly shows the jet-pipe nozzle extension unique to Israeli Skyhawks, which was introduced in 1973 to counter man-portable air defence systems.
This AhitN, undergoing level 2 maintenance at Nevatim, illustrates how the rear fuselage maybe removed for access to the engine. Israeli Skyhawks are equipped with the 11,200lb st Pratt & Whitney J52P-408 engine.
A pair of AhitMs 311 and 342 taxi to take-off from Hatzerim as a Flight School Zukit comes into land. IASF Flight School students fly the Zukit during basic training and the Ahit for advanced training. The air force has issued a Request For Information for a Zukit replacement for introduction around 2010, and it is believed that the Ahit's successor will enter service some five years later.
The Vectop head-up display and recorder dominates the cockpit of the AhitM. Partially hidden below them in this photograph is the illuminated multifunction display. The old Crystal weapon delivery and navigation system panels have been removed.
Approximately half of the Flying Tiger Squadron’s AhitMs are two-seaters. These originated as TA-4Hs (as 720 illustrated) and TA-4Js, though both variants were designated AhitTs in IASF service.
Israeli Skyhawks can refuel from the Boeing KC-707 tanker or buddy-buddy with other Ahits. Note the deployed fuselage airbrake and the logo ‘Improved Ahit’ in Hebrew script on the fuselage side just aft of the IASF Shield of David badge.
In order to minimise the amount of integration-testing of the EHUD instrumentation pod, it was based on the AIM-9 Sidewinder, with the same mass distribution and dimensions. It was hoped that modelling the pod on the AIM-9 would make it compatible with all Sidewinder-capable aircraft, but this has not proved to be the case and the pod requires aircraft-specific minor modifications.
An AhitM 'three-ship' prepares to take off from Hatzerim on a training sortie. The centre (702) and right-hand (705) aircraft originated as TA-4Js, while 721 was a TA-4H. Note that 702 is being flown solo, a task eased by the avionics commonality with single-seat Ahits.