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F-16I Sufa in IAF Service

F-16I Sufa in IAF Service Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2006 Title F-16I Sufa in IAF Service
Author Ra'anan Weiss Publisher Isra Decals Publications
Published 2006 ISBN 965-7220-02-5
Format 82 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $30.00


The F-16 Fighting Falcon has become a very potent combat aircraft during its development, with the Block 40/42 becoming purpose-built nighttime strike aircraft and Block 50/52 becoming the next generation of SEAD (Wild Weasel) aircraft. Unlike previous purpose built combat aircraft, these F-16 variants retained the agility and awesome dogfight capabilities of the previous versions. With the introduction of the CCIP-modified Block 50/52s into the fleet, the SEAD aircraft can now also carry the night attack pod of the Block 40/42 and the advanced intercept IFF system which is a major improvement over the earlier IFF system used on the F-16A ADF.

Many of the innovations that have found there way into the F-16 were due in large measure from the combat experience and several generations of Israeli modifications to their aircraft that would later find their way into the Lockheed-Martin production lines. One of the more interesting modifications was the dorsal spine added to the F-16D to allow room for additional avionics. This spine modification used to be exclusive to the Israeli Air Force F-16Ds, but the design has found its way into the Singapore Air Force as well as elsewhere.

While many of the F-16s flown by the IDF were configured over time while in Israeli service, the F-16I was unique in that it was essentially an F-16D Block 52 built to Israeli specifications and equipped with advanced Israeli avionics. The Sufa is powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engine which powers the Block 52 series of F-16s. In addition to the dorsal spine and the unique avionics, the F-16I can also employ the dorsal conformal fuel tanks to increase range with less drag and without occupying the heavy-weight underwing inboard pylons.

IsraDecal Publications has done a magnificent job in bringing the Sufa up-close and in detail. The title starts off with a brief developmental history of the type and launches into a wide array of magnificent color photographs of the aircraft in action. The title is then rounded out with loads of full-color photos of an extensive photo walk around of the aircraft from all of the usual perpectives and quite a few more that would get the average enthusiast shot! Very nice work indeed.

The title is written in English and provides a detailed look at the aircraft that will satisfy both the modeler and the Israeli Air Force aviation historian/enthusiast.

If you're a follower of the exploits and accomplishments of the Israeli Air Force, this is one title you won't want to miss. This title is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Isra Decal Publications for this review sample!