The Israeli Air Force is one of the most sophisticated and advanced aerial forces in the world today. Founded in 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence, it forms part of the Israel Defense Forces, along with the ground forces and the navy. The vast majority of aircraft in the fleet come from the United States, due to the close relationship enjoyed between the two countries.
Given Israel’s unique geopolitical situation, the Israeli Air Force has been particularly active since its foundation. It was only a few days after its formation that the Israeli Air Force began tangling with Egyptian fighter jets. Despite having a threadbare fleet back then the Israelis managed to score some notable victories and initiate a telling swing in the balance of power.
In 1956 the Israeli Air Force played a key role in the Suez Crisis. Apart from cutting power in the Sinai Peninsula and dropping Israeli paratroopers behind Egyptian lines, the force was instrumental in capturing an Egyptian warship that had been attacking the Israeli city of Haifa.
The next big excursion for the Israeli Air Force came in 1967 during the Six Day War. In a devastating and surprise attack on the Egyptian Air Force, they managed to wipe out the majority of their fleet while they were still grounded. Further attacks on Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi aircraft ensured Israel was the undisputed master of the skies during the brief war.
During the Yom Kippur War the Israeli Air Force was again instrumental in deciding the outcome. Key Egyptian and Syrian sites were targeted by the Israeli Air Force, allowing the Israel Defense Forces to gain the upper hand on the ground. This was however a costly war for the Israeli Air Force with over 100 aircraft lost during the battle.
More recently, the Israeli Air Force has been occupied by events in Lebanon, Gaza and Syria. Precision targeting of weapon shipments and military commanders across the region has illustrated the fact that the Israeli Air Force remains as one of the most active air forces in the world today.