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Thursday, December 06, 2012

F-16 engines stolen from IAF base

The IAF has recently discovered that 'several' F-16 engines have been stolen from one of its bases. 'Arabs assisted by someone on the inside' are suspected (Hat Tip: Aryeh Z).
Senior IAF sources said that the thieves who stole the engines had to have been assisted by someone within the base. This determination is based, among other things, on the fact that there was no damage to the base's perimeter fence. This leads investigators to believe that the thieves went in and out through the gates. They must have done this with a large vehicle, since the engines weigh over 1.5 tons and are more than 15 feet long.
No suspects have been arrested yet in the theft, which is the first of its kind in the IAF's history and marks a low point in its ability to secure its own bases. The most likely possibility is that the engines were stolen by Arab metal thieves, weapons dealers or terror-related agents. 
You might be asking - as I did - how someone could steal an engine that weighs over 1.5 tons and that is over 15 feet long. If you read the whole thing, you will discover that there were several similar audacious thefts over the last few months.

What could go wrong?

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3 Comments:

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Mordechai Y. Scher said...

In addition to 'how could they steal it', I'm asking how can they fence it? It cannot be easy to hide, move, smuggle out to buyers.

 
At 1:40 AM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

If you already own an F-16 legitimately it's not hard to buy an engine legitimately. It sounds though like a Russian mob operation to sell discount engines to some country that already has a bunch of F-16's and whomever's running the deal wants to skim the difference between the smuggled price and the legitimate price. Look for some country's air force officers who suddenly own a new house or a Bentley. The issue though is that General Dynamics isn't going to service them and isn't going to permit any licensee to service them either. Cannibalize them for parts perhaps?

 
At 4:55 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

This is really mystifying. I find it hard to believe that any of the other ME users of F-16s -Egypt, Jordan, Oman, or Turkey- would be interested in buying a hot jet engine. (BTW, the F-15 uses the same engine, except F-15s have two, versus the F-16's one)

If it were stolen for the buyer to get technical intel, the Pakistani AF also flies the F-16 and we can safely presume they would have provided technological information to Russia or China, if a$ked. This would have a far smaller profile than this case, where we can presume the major intel. agencies of the world now know that an IAF F-16/F-15 engine has gone missing.

Which leaves us with the high value scrap metal angle. This wouldn't be like taking some Chevy or Ford to a chop shop. Dismantling a modern jet engine down to it's component parts takes time, expertise and specialized tools. People with the requisite knowledge and hardware can make a damn good living doing honest, legal work, either in the defense or civil industries.

Strange...I don't think we have the whole story here.

 

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