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IAF Investigation Finds F-16 Crew Failed to Defend Itself Against Syrian Anti Aircraft Fire

IAF Investigation Finds F-16 Crew Failed to Defend Itself Against Syrian Anti Aircraft Fire

Written by TPS on February 25, 2018

The crew of the F-16 shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles on February 10 failed to defend itself adequately, according to the findings of an Israel Air Force investigation of the incident presented Sunday to Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

According to a statement released by the IDF, “when faced with the dilemma of completing the mission versus the need to defend itself and maintain survivability, the crew erred professionally by not taking defensive action as required. The crew’s actions were not in line with the required priorities when faced with a missile threat.”

The plane was shot down as it returned from a mission deep in Syria to hit an Iranian mobile command and control center that had launched a drone which penetrated Israeli airspace. The plane was shot down inside Israeli airspace and the crew ejected to safety. The crew’s decision to eject was justified by the investigation. The plane’s warning systems were found to have operated in time, while other planes on the mission were found to have defended themselves successfully against anti aircraft fire.

The pilot suffered serious injuries and the navigator was slightly hurt in the incident. Both have since been released from hospital and the navigator has already returned to active duty.

In response to the Syrian missile barrage over Israeli territory, the air force launched a second strike hiting around a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets and reportedly destroying some 50 percent of Syria’s air defense system.

The IAF investigation, which covered all the events of February 10, starting from the downing of the Iranian drone through to the destruction of the Syrian air defense batteries found also that intelligence for the operation had been sufficient and that its planning had been successful and led to the destruction of selected targets.

Chief of Staff Eisenkot said he was convinced “the appropriate lessons would be learned.”

IAF chief Maj. Gen Amikam Norkin said the “thorough investigation that we have carried out shows a learning process at all levels both at HQ and in the field and will make the air force even better.”

The mission, he added, had dealt “a severe blow to Iranian attempts at entrenchment in Syria.”

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