Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book Review: General Dynamics F-16A/B Netz

Ra'anan Weiss and Shlomo Aloni
General Dynamics F-16A/B Netz: Israeli Air Force The First Jet Squadron 1979-1986
Bat-Hefer, Israel: IsraDecal Publications, 2010
Category: Israel Air Force - History / Photo Gallery

Rating: 3-Stars

Documentation related to the Israeli squadrons, aircraft and pilots who flew throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s has become relatively prolific - thanks in large measure to the excellent work of author Shlomo Aloni.  This is less true, however, for events that took place during the 1980s and 90s, where the traditional veil of secrecy cast over Israeli air force operations and its pilots has been only partially lifted.

This particular book therefore offers a first glimpse at what is to come, with an exceptional array of photographs, both of the early F-16A/B models to arrive in Israel, as well as photographs of the pilots and ground crew who operated and maintained the aircraft.  Photographically, this volume is a rare find.  There are fewer pilot interviews and first hand accounts than we might have expected from many of Shlomo Aloni's other works - dealing with prior eras - but the book does whet the appetite for the treasure trove of detail that is slowly being declassified regarding these more recent decades.

So this book is a bit of a mix: an exceptional array of photographs, including images from the everyday operations of the squadron; an appendix that includes the air-to-air kill tally for Israel's first F-16 squadron; and a glimpse of the operational details that have not yet been fully released.  A good book, just not yet the great book that, with any luck, Aloni will one day write on this subject.

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