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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

IAF practicing F-16/MiG 29 dogfights and 'heavy formations'

In yet another sign that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities may be imminent, Israel's Channel 2 television reported on Wednesday that the IAF has borrowed MiG 29 fighter jets from an unnamed foreign country and is using them to practice dogfights with its F-16's. The MiG 29 - a Soviet fighter plane that was first developed in the 1970's - is the backbone of both the Syrian and the Iranian air forces. The IAF has also been practicing flying F-16's loaded with weapons in what is called 'heavy formations.'
"We tested them - we trained the IAF pilots against them," an unnamed IAF official said.

The IAF employs ten test pilots. The training of each costs about a million dollars, but the experience gleaned from the test pilots, the unnamed official said, "is priceless."

"You fly in places and in certain conditions in a way never attempted before," an unidentified test pilot said. "Once, a piece of the jet's body broke during an experiment but the crew managed to land it safely."

A test jet is just like a regular one, except for special sensors which cover literally every aspect of its mechanical and electronic systems and can be monitored from the ground for assessment.

An additional experiment conducted recently by the air force involved loading an F-16 with weapons to its utmost capacity, or "flight in a heavy formation," as the test pilot labeled it. The experiment was meant to measure the pilot's safety and the fighter's capability when it was carrying the maximum amount of armaments.

A jet so armed might be used in a long-distance sortie. The pilots interviewed would not name which foreign countries might be the targets of such sorties, but it was clear the main target of such an ambitious mission would be Iran's nuclear installations.


At 11:08 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel is giving Iran more signals. It can't claim later it wasn't warned.


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