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Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units in Combat

Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units in Combat Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2009 Title Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units in Combat
Author Shlomo Aloni Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2009 ISBN 978-1-84603-430-5
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95


This latest release from Osprey is an interesting look into the combat operations of the A-4 Skyhawk within the Israeli Air Force. In the early years of the Israeli state, France would become the principal supplier of combat aircraft to Israel, but due to international politics of the time, Israel turned to the US. One of the first aircraft to be acquired for the Israeli Air Force was the purpose-built A-4H Skyhawk with 48 placed on order in 1966. While the A-4 wouldn't arrive in time to fight in the 1967 Six-Day War, the aircraft would become the backbone of of Israel's strike capability thereafter and has served continuously through the 2006 Lebanon conflict.

Not only did the A-4 evolve in Israeli service, so did its pilots and tactics as the aircraft would prove its worth (hence its long operational life). In fact, one pilot - Ezra 'Baban' Dotan would become an ace including a dual kill of MiG-17s while flying the Skyhawk. Despite the aircraft's capabilities, it was still vulnerable to the ever improving air defenses as experienced in the 1972 war with over 50 aircraft lost.

Coverage includes:

  • Light Attack Aircraft
  • War of Attrition
  • Yom Kippur War
  • Skyhawk Supreme
  • Skyhawk Sunset

The author has compiled a number of previously unpublished photos and pilot accounts to illustrate the colorful history of the Skyhawk in IDF service. This title is well-illustrated with numerous period photos, 24 color profiles, and some interesting summary tables. One table tallies the aircraft lost in combat including the 50+ aircraft lost in the '73 war, identifying the aircraft type, ID number, pilot, and the pilot's fate.

This book is a must have for the modeler and aviation historian interested in modern air operations. Recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!