The Israeli military on January 12th admitted that a flood had damaged several of its fighter jets in the southern part of the country after heavy rains.
The flood happened on January 9th, but the information was censored for 3 days.
They will be repaired “in the coming days”, but the damage caused is estimated at several million shekels. The Israeli Air Force will investigate the incident and will check whether it was possible for it to be prevented.
It is unclear which air base was specifically flood, but Israeli media posted a photo of a flooded F-16C fighter jet.
If so, according to analysts the incident took place at the Khazor Air Force Base: it was in the heavy rainfall that happened on January 9th, the base is located in the south (relative to the center of the country) and in this base there are two F-16C/D Block 40 (Barak-2) squadrons hangered: the 101st (F-16C) and 105th (F-16D).
It is reported that the height of the water in the hangars exceeded 1 m, in some reached 1.5 m, which required the evacuation of personnel.
Among other things, fighters of the Air Force 669 evacuation and rescue unit were assisting soldiers get off the roof of one of the flooded hangars. No casualties were reported.
Over the last several days water was being pumped out of the flooded hangars.
The entire scope of the damages is unclear, and it could be in the tens of millions ($2.8 million), or even hundreds of millions of shekels ($28 million), and not simply just a few million ($280 thousand).
Similar floods on the same base occurred in 1992 and 2013. Among other things, during the flood of 2013, the base stored some of the elements of the facilities of the Iron Dome missile defense system, reportedly some Tamir interceptor missiles were damaged.
According to an unnamed Israeli Air Force Officer, on January 9th everything was dry, and then it suddenly started raining and everything got flooded.
Within half an hour the rains amounted to 50 thousand cubic meters, with concrete walls even collapsing at some spots of the air base.
In total 8 aircraft were damaged, with 5 receiving light damage and are already back to flying. The remaining 3 received more serious damage, but nothing that would make them incapable of flying for a prolonged period.
The unnamed officer said that they made a mistake no evacuating the aircraft to the runway from the hangers, and that conclusions would be made in order to avoid such incidents in the future.
There was another incident in the Israeli air force in the same week – a Saraf AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter, while flying at a low altitude, collided with a flock of birds. One was sucked into the engine, and two got into the chassis. The helicopter had to make a forced landing, and there were only minor injuries, but the helicopter was damaged.
An Israeli air force spokesman said that the Saraf was in a training flight, the injuries were minor and the helicopter had already returned to flying.
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