|The Hatzerim museum Avia S 199 now appears in a strange|
'biscuit' colour, rather than it's original light grey.
The unit acquired two Spitfires, a Mk IX rebuilt from scrap, and a repaired Egyptian AF Mk V which had been previously shot down by 101 sqn Avias. Spitfire D-130 was rebuilt as a photo-recce machine. In September 1948 the unit began to re-equip with Spitfire LFIX's and Packard Merlin engined LF16's from Czechoslovakia, delivered via Ekron. A number of these were converted for photo-recce duties. At about the same time, a pair of P-51D Mustangs acquired in the USA were introduced into service and the surviving Avias gradually retired.
The unit was based at Hatzor from 9 November 1948 but moved to Ramat David in May 1949 - leaving the remaining S-199s behind. In 1950, a further influx of Spitfires, this time form Italy, brought increased strength; followed by a batch of ex-Swedish P-51D Mustangs in July 1951. In 1953 the Spitfires were withdrawn to form 107 sqn, leaving 101 sqn as a single type unit for the first time, with the P-51D. On 15th February 1956 101 sqn was back at Hatzor again, where it temporarily disbanded.
The squadron officially reformed on the Mystere IVA in June 1956, quickly becoming operational, and flying from Ramat David during the Suez Campaign the following October/November. The Mysteres were principally used for flying top cover, destroying eight arab fighters without loss in air combat - although one aircraft was lost to ground fire.
In April 1962 the squadron began to re-equip with the Mach 2 capable Mirage IIICJ after receiving pilot training in France. 101 squadron Mirages originally featured two-digit serials, before falling into line with the other two Mirage squadrons which always carried three digit serials. During the build up in tensions prior to the start of the Six Day War, the squadrons Mirages scored 7 kills in air combat without loss. At the start of the Six Day War, 101 sqn led strikes on airfields at Bir Gafgafa, Cairo West and Bir Tmade in the first wave and Cairo West, Cairo International, Helwan, Bilbeis and El Minaya in the second wave. From the second day of the war, the Mirages were mainly used for air superiority missions, 101 sqn claiming some 17 kills for the loss of three aircraft. The War of Attrition, 1967 to 1973, also saw regular clashes between Mirages and Syrian and Egyptian jets. 101 sqn aircraft were temporarily deployed to bases in the Sinai in order to improve reaction times, and steadily increased their score of MiGs.
|P-51D Mustang serial 53. Red prop spinner and rudder stripes are typical 101sqn markings.|
With the supply of Mirage 5J's from France embargoed, IAI-built Nesher copies began to supplement the Mirage III's in the early 1970's. Both types saw action in the Yom Kippur war of 1973, where the far greater intensity of air combat resulted in 101 sqn claiming about 48 kills for four losses.
Conversion to the locally built Kfir C-1 commenced in 1975, although 101 sqn pilots were reported to be unhappy with the performance of their new mount. The increased emphasis on air-ground operations rather than air- air performance was also considered unwelcome. Fortunately, these early aircraft were replaced by the improved Kfir C-2 model, with canard foreplanes and revised avionics, two years later. From 1983 the Kfir C-2's were remanufactured to Kfir C-7 standard with a new avionics suite, upgraded engine and additional fuselage stores stations. Some new build C-7's were also acquired to make good attrition losses. 101 squadron is credited with the one and only IDF/AF air-to-air kill for the Kfir.
The unit disbanded in 1987, but reformed within a year on the F-16D. These two seater aircraft feature a prominent dorsal spine fairing, fitted with special Israeli manufactured weapons delivery avionics, and are used in the dedicated EW/Defence Suppression role. In 1991 the unit recieved a few single seat F-16C Block 40s. Contrary to some reports, this unit has never used the Ouragan, Super Mystere or F-16A/B.
|Close-up of marking on Avia S 199 engine cowling||Red rudder stripes again|
|Republic Seabee serial T-61||The original was used as a sqn 'hack' aircraft|
|13 kill markings on the nose of Mirage IIICJ '159'||Close-up of fin and rudder markings|
|Kfir C-2 serial 874. A single kill marking is just visible on the nose forward of the cockpit||Close-up of fin and rudder markings|
|F-16C serial 519 takes off. (photo, Israeli Air Force)||F-16D serial 612. (photo, Israeli Air Force)|
|Ekron||29 May 1948-early June 1948|
|Herzliya||early June 1948-end July 1948|
|Natanya||end July 1948-late Sept 1948|
|Herzliya||late Sept 1948-1980|
|Hatzor||9 November 1948-May 1949|
|Ramat David||May 1949-?|
|Hatzor||?-15 Feb 1956|
|Ramat David||June 1956-November 1956|
|RC-3 Seabee||1||May 48 - 1953||2||T-61|
|Avia S-199||25||29 May 48 - May 1949||1,2,3||D-106,D-110, D-118,D-123|
|Spitfire V/IX||1/1||early July 48 - Dec 1948+||1,2,3||D-130,D-131|
|Spitfire LF.9/16||20||27 Sept 48 - early 1953||1,2,3||D-132,D-134 2008,2015,2017,2019|
|P-51D||2||early Oct 1948 - Feb 1956||1,2,3||D-141,D-190|
|P-51D||25||Jul 1951 - Feb 1956||1,2,3||03,12,41|
|Mystere IVA||30||11 Apr 56 - 1961||4,3||32,33,34,35, 36,301,630|
|Mirage IIICJ||24||7 Apr 62 - Apr 75||4,3||06,52,56,159, 341,406,458,498,542,551,741,854,942|
|Mirage IIIBJ||2||1966 - Apr 75||4,3|
|Mirage IIICJ(R)||2 (+2?)||late 1970 - Apr 75||2|
|Nesher||6||May 1981 - April 1975||4,3|
|Kfir C-1||20||14 Apr 75 - 1977||4,3||727,743|
|Kfir C-2||20||May 1977 - 1987||4,3||879,874|
|Kfir TC-2||4||1981 - 1987||4,3||310|
|F-16D||23||1987 - Present||4,3||046,050,069,606,612,682|
|F-16C Block 40||3+||22 Aug 1991 - Present||4,3||502,503,508|
|Figure 1||Figure 2||Figure 3||Figure 4|
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|First Created: 9 January 1998 - Last Revised: 24 October 1999|
|Copyright © 1998 John Hayles. e-mail: email@example.com|