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IAF retires Skyhawk trainer fleet

The Israeli air force (IAF) has retired its McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk fleet after 48 years in service.

Used for combat operations after delivery in 1967, the type was retired from operational service in the early 1990s and converted to the training role as Boeing F-15s and Lockheed Martin F-16s entered IAF service. The A-4 is now being replaced by the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Lavi.

A total of 236 A-4s were operated by the IAF during their near 50-year presence in Tel Aviv's inventory. Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database records around 30 were in service until the 13 December retirement.

The Skyhawks were operated by the service's 102 Sqn, based at Hatzerim air base, which flies 17 of an eventual 30 M-346s.

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An Israeli M-346 and an A-4

Israeli air force

“The Skyhawk …was one of the IAF's veteran and most reliable aircraft and leaves behind it a legacy of successful operations, as it took part in every Israeli campaign ever since it entered service and even served as the IAF's primary strike jet in the ‘War of Attrition’,” the IAF says, adding that during the Yom Kippur war the Skyhawk performed 1,000 operational sorties.

The A-4 was also previously operated by the US Navy, US Marine Corps, Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Air Force, and the Argentine air force still operates a fleet of 25 of the type and the Brazilian navy a fleet of four.

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