Israeli Air Force
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A-4N Skyhawk serial 379 is now at the Hatzerim Museum

Unit History


116 Squadron

(116 Tayeset "Ha'Kanaf Ha'Meofeef" -The Flying Wing Squadron)
Role: Fighter-Bomber

This unit also had the unoffical nickname of 'The Wirecutters Squadron'.

The famed wire-cutters squadron was formed at Ekron (Tel Nof) in February 1956, when 101 sqn relinquished their P-51D Mustangs in favour of the Mystere IVA. The newly transferred aircraft were given a coat of camouflage paint, in contrast to their previous natural metal finish. Some ex-101 sqn aircraft retained the red/white rudder stripes of their original operator. The squadron was a reservist unit manned by flying instructors from the Flight School at the same base.

The nickname was earned during the opening hours of the Suez Campaign, when squadron aircraft were tasked with deliberately flying through Egyptian telegraph wire in the Sinai. This action significantly hampered Egyptian communications during the vital early stages of the conflict, although some aircraft were lost due to wing and propeller damage.

Although obsolescent in the face of Egyptian MiGs and Meteors, the Mustang fought with distinction throughout the campaign - flying intensive ground attack operations in direct support of the ground forces. A number of losses resulted when ground fire punctured the vulnerable engine cooling system, and caused a complete loss of coolant. Of the 29 aircraft available, a total of nine Mustangs were lost in the short war - more than 30 per cent.

Despite its perceived vulnerability ,the P-51 remained in service for another two years - 116 sqn being the last operator of the type. It was placed in reserve in the last quarter of 1958.

116 sqn reformed on the Mystere IVA in 1961, when it received 16 aircraft from 101 sqn. Thus becoming the third and last unit to operate the type. In 1968 further aircraft were received from 109 sqn. Initially flown in the fighter-bomber role, from 1962 the type was relegated to the ground-attack role.

Mystere IVA operations in the Six Day War are described under 109 sqn. Following the re-equipment of 109 sqn in 1968, 116 sqn became the sole Mystere IVA unit. Three Mysteres were lost over the Suez in January-February 1970.

In 1970, the squadron began to receive ex-USN A-4E Skyhawks, allowing it to finally retire its Mystere IVAs in February 1971. It was the sixth unit to operate the Skyhawk. A-4 use in the Yom Kippur War is described elsewhere. By 1975, the unit had converted to the A-4N variant. Its base was Nevatim. The unit later disbanded prior to re-equipment with the F-16.


Another view of A-4N 379

P-51D Mustang serial 38 in Sinai Campaign markingsNote the 'wirecutters' insignia under the cockpit
Mystere IVA serial 60Side view of the Mystere IVA


Air Bases:
Base Duration
Tel Nov (Ekron) Feb 1956-197?
Nevatim 197?-Present

Aircraft Used:
Type Qty Service Badge Example Serials
P-51D20Feb 56 - late 581038,39,54
Mystere IVA301961 - Feb 1971209
A-4E18Feb 1971 - 19753209,215, 218,220
A-4HsomeFeb 1971 - 19753272
TA-42+Feb 1971 - 19753716,721
A-4N241975 - 19934322,323, 392,330
F-16A/B24199? - Present4  

Unit Insignia:
Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4
to be added to be added to be added
Figure 1 courtesy of Amos Dor



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First Created: 9 January 1998 - Last Revised: 13 November 1998
Copyright © 1998 John Hayles.     e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk