LAST UPDATED : 12/08/2007
The Mirage III, although an excellent platform, suffered from a number of faults in its engine and radar system. Furthermore, in the clear skies over the Middle East there was no use for the entire avionics package provided by the French manufacturer. After contacts with Israel Dassault agreed to develop a new aircraft, based on the Mirage III but following Israeli guidelines and requirements. This aircraft was radarless but flew higher and faster and also contained more fuel than its predecessor. First flown on May 19th, 1967, this aircraft was to become the Mirage 5 and Israel ordered 50 of the type.
In the late 1960s the close ties between France and Israel began to cool down, first with the French weapons embargo during the Six Days War (the Arabs were armed by the Soviets
so the embargo mainly hurt Israel) and finally with the embargo following the Israeli commando raid on Beirut airport in December 1968 (following an attack by Palestinian
terrorists on an El Al aircraft). France refused to deliver the 50 aircraft already ordered by Israel and instead used them to arm its own air force.
Israel needed these plans to replace more than 60 aircraft lost during the Six Days War and the ongoing War of Attrition that followed it prompted Israel to build its own fighter plane, the common story about the origins of the Nesher say that Israel privately acquired the Mirage 5 blueprints from Dassault and to secure the engine blueprints through espionage.
In recent years a few facts were revealed that show that the first Neshers were built out of original Aerospatiale parts that were delivered out of France, there was no embargo on spare parts !
The original Mirage M5j nickname in the Israeli Air Force was going to be "Raam" (Thunder), the program of building the plane in the Israel Aircraft Industries was designated "Raam A" while the goal was
that another program designated "Raam B" will test the idea of replacing the French Atar 9C engines into the stronger American GE-J79 engines, thus began in parallel the work on the "Technolog"
that will eventually lead to the development of the "Kfir".
On March 21st 1971, the first "Raam A" took to the air. The first test flights in the IAF, began by May of the same year. The first two operational "Raam M" entered the "First Fighter" squadron on October 1971, on November 1971 their codename was officially changed to the "Nesher" (Vulture).
At first some disappointment was voiced over the aircraft's air-to-air characteristics but these were gradually silenced and finally disappeared after the aircraft's excellent performance during the Yom-Kippur war of 1973. In total 51 single seat "Nesher S" were built and a further 10 two seater "Nesher T" were built after the Yom-Kippur war, the production ended in 1974.
The type served in four fighter squadrons, three of them before the Yom-Kippur war - the "First Fighter" squadron, "Guardians of the Arava" squadron & the "Hornet" squadron. The fourth squadron - the "Negev" squadron was established in 1976 to collect the remaining Neshers from the squadrons that were converted to the "Kfir". All Neshers were numbered at first with a two digit serial number, but after the arrival of the two seater T model, the S model received the initial "5", and T model received the initial "6".
The first aerial victory of a Nesher took place on January 8th, 1973, when 4 Neshers from the "First Fighter" squadron escorted F-4E Phantoms into Syria to attack a terrorist base.
In an engagement with Syrian MiG-21s, 6 MiGs were shot down, two by the Neshers.
The Nesher enjoyed great success in the Yom-Kippur war with dozens of Egyptian, Syrian and Libyan aircraft shot down, the "First Fighter" squadron alone scoring 59 victories for the loss of only 4 planes. When Libyan Mirage 5s entered the fighting all Israeli Mirages and Neshers were marked with large yellow triangles bordered by a thick black frame to prevent a case of mistaken identity (see picture above). At least two Mirage 5s were shot down by Neshers, as well as an Israeli Phantom shot down by mistake, the navigator and the pilot, a former Nesher squadron commander, parachuting to safety. By the end of the war Nesher 510 had shot down 13 enemy aircraft while 561 had shot down 12, equaling the Israeli highest kills for a single plane, Shahaks 58 and 59.
Between 1978 and 1981 the Nesher was retired from service, replaced with Israel's next locally built fighter, the "Kfir". Exported as the "Dagger", 35 single seat examples were sold to Argentina along with 4 two seater. These took part in the Falklands War of 1982, attacking the British task force sent to recapture the islands, facing Sea-Harriers during the landing at San Carlos. There were still 25 Daggers in service with the Argentinean Air Force (FAA) in 1993.
Source: IAF's Nesher page
|Name:||Israel Aircraft Industries Nesher|
|Type:||Supersonic Fighter Interceptor.|
|Country of origin:||Israel (France).|
|Engine:||Atar 9C 4,280kg dry thrust, 6.400kg thrust with afterburner.|
|Armament:||two 30mm cannons with up to 4200kg of disposable stores on 6 underwing and 1 underfuselage hardpoints.|
|Weight:||empty - 6,600kg, max takeoff - 13,500kg.|
|Performance:||max speed - mach 2.1 at 39,370ft, rate of climb - 16,400ft/min, service ceiling - 55,775ft, range - 1,300km.|
|Dimensions:||span - 8.22m, length - 15.55m, height - 4.25m.|
Serials Table of all Israeli Neshers
(If you have anything to add, contact me: idfaf.pics[at]gmail.com)
|Direct Page Link:||http://idfaf.110mb.com/Nesher/NesherMain.html|