140 squadron was the fourth unit in Israel to convert to the F-16. While receiving their aircraft - coming from both 110 and 117 sqn, the squadron moved to Ramon AB, being previously based at Tel Nof AB. The Peace Marbel I order compromised a total of 75 F-16A/B fighters. These planes were originally intended for the Imperial Iranian Air Force, but the demise of the Shah in 1979 and the consequent rise of the Islamic fundamentalist regime caused these planes to be diverted to Israel. Although standard block 10 aircraft coming off the General Dynamics production plant, they had a number of internal changes that were unique to Israeli requirements. This included the fitting of chaff & flare dispensers.
The A/B models of the F-16 are locally known as 'Netz' – meaning Hawk. They are used in an air defence role. Though delivered as block 10 versions, these airframes received the block 15 upgrades – being a larger stab and some internal changes. In total seventeen technical modifications, designed by the IDFAF and Israeli military industries, were made to the Israeli F-16A/B's. Most of them in the software and in the mission computers, which enabled the F-16 to operate the unique weapon systems. Fin-root fairings on early F-16A's house the AN/ALQ-178 Rapport III ECM system.
IDFAF F-16A block 5
from 140 sqn is coming in for landing. [Photo by Xnir
In 1992 all IDFAF F-16A/B's went into an upgrade phase at Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI), where wings were structurally reinforced and Elbit's advanced flight and mission management system was installed. By the end of this phase, all F-16A/B's were equaled with the F-16C's. A further enhancement to Israel’s early F-16s was provided by IAI under the so-called ACE program. This would install a complete digital cockpit with some other major enhancements. This project however failed to be accomplished.
In 2000 the squadron moved its F-16s to Nevatim AB in an effort to centralize all Israeli’s different blocks of F-16s on the same base. At Nevatim, the squadron joined 116 squadron which also used the A/B models in the air defence role.
In 2013 the squadron was disbanded and all older A/B airframes were transferred to Tayeset 116 also based at Nevatim. This marked another stepstone in the withdrawal of this venerable jet.
IDFAF F-16A block 10 #246
from 140 sqn is taxiing by the lens. Note the special pod on the engine inlet. [Photo by Isra]