Israeli Air Force
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General view of the military side of Sde Dov,
with the power station in the background.

Air Bases:

This is a survey of the air bases which have been used by the Israeli Air Force during it's history. All information presented here has been obtained from open sources, such as Jeppesen charts etc. Thanks to Holger Sens and Zvi Kreisler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Some translations of Hebrew terms:
Bacha = Air Force Base, AFB
Canaf (Kanaf) = Wing
Shachar = Emergency Field

(Shachar 20). Located north west of Lake Kinneret (Lake of Tiberias). Light aircraft/helicopter wartime forward operating base.

Beer-Sheba (Commonly called "Sde Teyman")
ICAO code: LLBS. Location coordinates: N31 17.3 E034 43.4, elevation: 656 ft (200 m). One runway 14/32 degrees of 3412 ft (1040 m) length. Located west of Beer Sheba. Opened when? Civil airport, not currently used by the IDF/AF. Up until 1966 was the main liaison airfield for the Southern Command HQ nearby.

Beit El
(Shachar 31). Landing ground regularly used by helicopters transporting personnel to work at the nearby Baal Hatzor (Mount Hazor). The top of this 2920 feet high feature houses several important EW installations.

Bet'zet (Bezet)
(Shachar 33). Opened 1942. Located north east of Nahariya. Formerly known as El Bassa. Light aircraft/helicopter wartime forward operating base. Nominated as a Forward Area Refuelling Point (FARP) for the western sector to Lebanon. Two Syrian MiG-17s once landed here by mistake.

(Shachar 11). Located very near to the Lebanese border. Currently home to permanent AH-1 detachment to patrol the security zone on southern Lebanon.

(Shachar 23). Located in the northern part of Israel, some 15 km from the Lebanese border. Home to permanent RPV detachment and dispersed operating base for light aircraft/helicopters. Helicopter crews commonly land at border settlements to refresh, save fuel or win time in case of an alert.

Dorot Airfield
Located east of Sederot. Unpaved airstrip only used for a short while 1948, and occasionally for agricultural aircraft.

Eilat Airport ("J. Holtzman")
ICAO code: LLET. Location coordinates: N29 33.6 E034 57.6, elevation: 42 ft (13 m). Consists of a single runway 026/206 degrees of 6234 ft (1900 m) length. Aircraft parking area is to the left of 026. Civil airport, not currently used by the IDF/AF. Opened in 1950. Located at the very southern tip of Israel.

Ein Shemer Airfield
Opened in 1942 and used by the RAF as a base for Lancasters and B-24 Liberators. Located east of Hadera, close to the Lebanon border. Currently home to a gliding club and a detachment from Unit 505.

Ein-Ya'hav Airfield
Small airfield in the centre of the Arava (Prairie), over 100 km north of Eilat. Used for civil and military (liaison) flights.

Eitam Airbase
Former home to Canaf 25. Location coordinates: N31 04 E034 06, elevation: 328 ft (100 m). Consists of a single runway 08/26 degrees of 7986 ft (2454 m) length. Built from scratch by Israel in 1977 after the withdrawal from Suez area. Located southeast of El Arish, in north west Sinai, (outside of the current Israeli border). Closed in 1981 under the Camp David Agreement and handed over to Egypt. Renamed El Gora by Egypt and used to house the UN MFO HQ in Sinai. Replaced by Ramon.

Etzion Airbase
Former home to Canaf 10. Formerly Ras El-Nakab airfield of the Egyptian Air Force, taken over by IDF/AF in 1973 and considerably upgraded into a fully operational airbase. Located in eastern Sinai, close to the town of Elat, (outside of the current Israeli border). Location coordinates: N29 36 E034 44, elevation: 2470 ft (753 m). Consists of one runway 04/22 degrees of 7986 ft (2434 m) length, with parallel taxi-way. After 1978 peace treaty with Egypt, also used by civilian charter aircraft up to jumbo-jet size. Starting point for Osirak nuclear reactor raid in Iraq. Returned to Egypt in 1981 and renamed "Taba International".

(Shachar 16). Located at the eastern part of Kir-yat Shmona town, a few km from the Lebanese border. Home to a permanent helicopter detachment to patrol the security zone in southern Lebanon, but also functions as a civil airfield for non-scheduled internal flights.

Haifa Airport ("U. Micheali")
(Bacha 21). Former Ottoman Turkish airfield in WW1, then rebuilt in 1934 as civil flying field. RAF base in WW2, to IDF/AF in May 1948. Located at Kishon Harbour, north of Haifa, on the coast of North East Israel. ICAO Code: LLHA. Location coordinates: N32 48.6 E035 02.6, elevation 28 ft (9m). One runway 16/34 degrees of 4183 ft (1275 m) length. The home of the IDF/AF Technical School. Hosts a permanent AB212 detachment and has a wartime role as an emergency airfield. The Haifa Bay area houses several military installations.

(Shachar 32). Located south of the Dead Sea, near the border with Jordan. Also known as Ein Kahatseva. Light aircraft/helicopter wartime forward operating base. Note spelling is NOT Hatzeba.

Hatzerim Airbase
Modern air base built by the IDF/AF in the 1960s. Used from 1966, when only partially completed. Located in southern Israel west of Beersheba. ICAO code: LLHB. Location coordinates: N31 15 E034 40, elevation 722 ft (220 m). Four runways: 10/28 degrees of 9022 ft (2750 m) length, 11/29 degrees of 8005 ft (2440 m) length, 15/33 degrees of 6004 ft (1830 m) length and 09/27 degrees of 6004 ft (1830 m) length. Currently home to 69, 102, 107, 123, 130, 141, 142, 155, 162, 247 and 252 squadrons. Was the base of the 192 sqn E-2C Hawkeyes before it disbanded. Home of the Flight School since April 1966 and the IDF/AF Museum. Operational units use the southern runways (Canaf 6 or Bacha 6), and the Flight School units use the north west runways (Bist 12).

Hatzor Airbase
(Canaf 4). Completed in 1945 as RAF Qastina (arab name Kastina), to the IDF/AF on 9 November 1948. Located near the lower west coast of Israel, east-south-east of Ashdod. ICAO code: LLHS. Location coordinates: N31 46 E034 44, elevation: 121 ft (37 m). Two runways 05/23 degrees of 7986 ft (2434 m) length and 16/34 degrees of the same length. Currently home to 101, 105, 144 and 149 squadrons.

Herzlia (Herzliya)
Located in western Israel, north of Tel Aviv. Used by 101 sqn as a temporary base June 1948 - October 1948. Now a general aviation airfield catering for the majority of civil flight schools and the home base for several air-taxi operators. ICAO code: LLHZ. Location coordinates: N32 10.8 E034 50.1, elevation: 121 ft (37 m). One runway: 11/29 degrees of 3291 ft (1003 m) length. Also known as Kfar Shemaryahu.

Kfar Sirkin
Built as RAF Petah Tiqva (Petach Tiqwa). Completed in 1941 and used by the RAF until May 1948. Used by the IDF/AF for part of the Flight School 1949-1955, with most aircraft based at Tel Nof. Now serves as the HQ for the IDF/AF air defence branch. Located east of Tel Aviv, very near to Petach-Tikva town. Location coordinates: N32 04 E034 56, elevation: 164 ft (50 m). Two runways: 14/32 degrees of 4003 ft (1220 m) length and 10/28 degrees of the same length. The field was hit by an Iraqi Tu-16 during the Six Day War, destroying at least one aircraft.

Kiryat Gat (Kiriat-Gat)
Formerly El-Faluja, situated west of Qiryat Gat. Also known as Beit-Daras. Former active RAF base and destination for the early 1948 supply flights from abroad. Location coordinates: N31 38 E034 45, elevation: 328 ft (100 m). One runway 09/27 of 3002 ft (915 m). One-time minor civil airfield, but no sign of it remains today.

Lod Airbase
(Canaf 27). This base comprises the military portion of Lod/Tel Aviv Airport ("Ben Gurion International"). Built in 1936 as Lydda Airport. Used by Imperial Airways as a stop-over base. Lydda was an Arab town until captured by the IDF on 11 July 1948. Name then changed to Lod International Airport. Renamed Ben Gurion International Airport in 1974, following the death of the first Prime Minster of Israel. Located at Lod in central Israel, several kilometres east of Tel Aviv. ICAO Code: LLBG for civil portion, LLAD for military portion. Location coordinates: N32 00.6 E034 52.6, elevation 135 ft (41 m). Consists of three runways forming an inverted triangle: 077/257 degrees of 11,998 ft (3657 m) length, 119/299 degrees of 10,210 ft (3112 m) length and 027/207 degrees of 5840 ft (1780 m) length. The military area is parallel to the shortest runway, while the civil area is located at the bottom corner. Currently home to 103, 120, 122, 126, 131, 134 and 195 Squadrons.

(Shachar 14). Light aircraft/helicopter wartime forward operating base. Note: correct spelling is NOT Madochot.

Mahanayim (Ma'Hanaim)
(Shachar 24). Former RAF landing ground, later Galilee Squadron base for a short while in 1948. Also known as Machanaim and "Ben Yaakov Airport". Located in north east Israel, east of Rosh Pina, about 25 km north of the Sea of Tiberias, (Lake Kineret). Currently a civil airfield and light aircraft/helicopter wartime forward operating base. Nominated as a Forward Area Refuelling Point (FARP) for the eastern sector to Lebanon. Main air connection to Northern Command HQ at Rosh Pina.

Designated Shachar 7 by the IDF/AF. ICAO code: LLMG. Location coordinates: N32 35.0 E035 14.0, elevation 200 ft (61 m). One runway 09/27 degrees of 7710 ft (2350 m) length. Opened in 1942. Served as an auxiliary field to Ramat David. Currently home to a gliding club, a detachment from Unit 505 and some agricultural aircraft used in the Izre-el valley. Light aircraft/helicopter wartime foward operating base. During the Six Day War, a Tu-16 was shot down by a local AA battery and crashed directly on the field. The defecting Syrian MiG-23 landed here.

Metzada (Masada)
Small airfield on the Dead Sea shore, at the foot of the Masada fortress. Used for tourist flights and is potentially an emergency field.

Located east of Netanya, next to the Ma-a-borot CMU. Also known as Kfar Hayim. Used in August 1948 as a temporary base for 101 sqn, while Herzliya's landing strip was being refurbished. Today used by agricultural aircraft.

Nevatim Airbase
(Canaf 28). Originally built as a rough strip for the Sherut Avir in 1947. Formerly known as Malhata. New airbase planned and built by Israel with US funding, opened October 1983. Located south east of Beersheba. ICAO code: LLNV. Location coordinates: N31 12 E035 00, elevation: 1312 ft (400 m). Two runways: 08/26 degrees of 10007 ft (3050 m) length and 08/26 degrees of 8005 ft (2440 m) length. Currently home to 104, 115, 116, 132 and 251 squadrons.

Ofira Airbase
Formerly Egyptian AF base of Sharm El Sheik/Ras Nasrani, in the Sinai, (outside of the current Israeli border). Taken over by the IDF/AF in 1967. Returned to Egypt in 1981. Location coodinates: N27 59 E034 24, elevation: 163 ft (50 m). One runway 03/21 degrees of 7986 ft (2434 m) length. Currently houses the US contingent of the UN MFO and also operates as a civil airport for the tourist resorts. Garbled version of name in some western publications: Orphira.

Ouvda (Uvda) Airbase
(Canaf 10). New airbase built for the IDF/AF by the USA, opened 1981. Replacement for Etzion AB. Located north west of Eilat, in the southern Negev region, near the Jordanian border. ICAO code: LLOV. Location coordinates: N29 56.2 E034 56.5, elevation: 1492 ft (455 m). Consists of two parallel runways (both 020/200 degrees) of lengths 8530 ft (2600 m) and 9843 ft (3000 m) respectively. Civil operations ceased when Akaba International in Jordan began to serve Elat. The civil apron was at the far end of the shorter runway, while the miltary area was alongside the longer runway. Currently home to 137, 143, 145 and 202 squadrons.

Palmachim Airbase
(Canaf 30). Newly built by the IDF/AF in the 1970s, originally as a military test site for Israeli designed missiles and also later used as a helicopter base. The misiles were fired towards the sea. Situated north north-east of Ashdod. Location coordinates: N31 55 E034 44, elevation: 98 ft (30 m). One runway: 03/21 degrees of 6562 ft (2000 m) length. Currently home to 124, 151, 160, 161, 193, 194 and 200 squadrons.

Ramat David Airbase
(Canaf 1). Completed in 1942 as RAF Ramat David, to the IDF/AF on 26 May 1948. Located in the centre of northern Israel, south east of Haifa, near the border with the occupied West Bank. ICAO code: LLRD. Location coordinates: N32 40 E035 11, elevation: 138 ft (42 m). Three runways: 145/325 degrees of 8005 ft (2440 m) length, 105/285 degrees of 9022 ft (2750 m) length and 085/265 degrees of 9022 ft (2750 m) length. Currently home to 109, 110, 117 and 190 squadrons.

Former Ottoman Turkish airfield, heavily used during 1917. From 1930 main RAF base in Palestine. To the IDF/AF in May 1948, and at one time the home of the IDF/AF HQ. Situated south east of Ramleh. Now overbuilt by housing, and no sign of it exits today.

Ramon Airbase
(Canaf 25). Formerly known as Matred. Located south west of Beer Sheba, in the central Negev region in southern Israel. ICAO code: LLRM. Location coordinates: N30 50 E034 40, elevation 2133 ft (650 m). Constructed by the USA and opened in 1981. Three runways, all 07/25 degrees of 10007 ft (3050 m) length. Currently home to 113, 127, 140, 146, 147, and 253 squadrons.

Ramon Airfield
Unrelated to the above airbase, Ramon Airfield is an airstrip located several kms north of Mizpe Ramon, which is further south. It is mainly used for the transportation of IDF personnel to bases in the area, and is occaisionally served by Arkia.

Refidim Airbase
Formerly Egyptian AF base of Bir Gifgafa or Meliz-Bir Gafgafa, (outside of the current Israeli border). Taken over by IDF/AF in 1967. Played a key role in the War of Attrition, when pairs of fighters were on immediate alert for intercept. Abandoned in 1978. Location coordinates: N30 23 E033 07, elevation: 1148 ft (350 m). One runway ?/? degrees of 7986 ft (2434 m) length.

(Shachar 13). Located in the Beit She-an valley, about 30 kilometres south of Lake Tiberias and several kilometres south of the town of Beith She-an. Light aircraft/helicopter wartime forward operating base.

Ruchama Airfield
Located in the southern part of the Negev, near Dorot. Rough airstrip only used for a short while 1948.

Sde Dov ("Dov Hoz Municipal Airport")
(Canaf 15). Established in September 1938 as a civil airport for Tel Aviv, and used until the summer of 1940, when it closed for WW2. Reopened in December 1947 for civil (actually Sherut Avir) use. Located close to the northern outskirts of Tel Aviv on the west coast. ICAO code: LLSD. Location coordinates: N32 07.0 E034 46.9, elevation: 43 ft (13 m). Consists of an L-shape, with the single runway (027/207 degrees) of 5712 ft (1741 m) length forming the vertical stroke, and the military and civil aprons forming the base of the L. The military section is called 'Tel Aviv Airbase' and was home to only one sqn of Piper Cubs until 1963, when two or three more sqns moved in from Ramleh. Currently home to 100, 125, 128, 135 and 191 Squadrons. Named for Mr. Dov Hoz, manager of Aviron and an important member of Haganah, who was killed in a motor accident.

Sde Khemed
Sde Khemed is an educational institute south east of Tel Aviv at number 1 highway to Jerusalem. Surplus aircraft are often seen there. Currently home to a detachment of PA-18 Super Cubs from the Flight School.

Sdot Micha
(Canaf 2). Jericho IRBM base. Located east of Ashkelon and south east of Tel Nof AB, south of the Nahal (River) Sorek, between Kiriat-Gat and Beit-Shemesh. Curently home to 150, 199 and 248 squadrons. Garbled version of name in some western publications: Sedof Mikha. Sedof has no meaning in Hebrew.

Located in eastern Israel near the Southern tip of the Dead Sea. Today only used by civilian traffic.

(Shachar 19). Located in the centre of the Negev, south of Ramon. Principally a test field for military industries and the IDF/AF. Light aircraft/helicopter wartime forward operating base.

Tel Nof Airbase
(Canaf 8). Completed in 1941 as RAF Aqir (arab name Akir), to the IDF/AF in May 1948. Major RAF base during WW2. Located East of Ashdod, on the East coast. Also known as Ekron. ICAO code: LLEK. Location coordinates: N31 50 E034 50, elevation: 295 ft (90 m). Three runways: 15/33 degrees of 9022 ft (2750 m) length, 00/18 degrees of 9022 ft (2750 m) length and 09/27 degrees of 6004 ft (1830 m) length. Home base for 106, 114, 118, 119, 133, 148, 201, 505, the Flight Test Center and unit 669. Used by the Flight School up until April 1966. Key base for IDF/AF nuclear weapons, and also operational and training centre for all IDF paratroopers. Today more a military town than just and airbase. Note: correct spelling is NOT Tel Nov.

Yavne'el Airfield
Located west of Tiberias. Opened in 1948. Unpaved airfield used by agricultural aircraft from time to time.

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First Created: 15 January 1998 - Last Revised: 21 March 2000
Copyright © 1998 John Hayles.     e-mail: