Two Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16 squadrons are to relocate from Hatzor Air Base to Ramat David Air Base. The planned move, which was announced by the IAF on March 10, involves 101 ‘First Fighter’ and 105 ‘Scorpion’ Squadrons.
The two Hatzor units will join another fighter squadron at Ramat David, 109 Squadron, known as ‘The Valley Squadron’, which flies F-16D Block 30/40 Baraks. To ease the transition, both 101 and 105 Squadrons have been making regular deployments to Ramat David to familiarize themselves with the environment and airspace. It is intended that this should lead to both units remaining fully operational until their last day at Hatzor and also be fully operational on their first day at Ramat David.
The IAF did not specify an exact date for the move, just saying that it is expected to take place shortly. The move, across the length of the country from south to north, is no easy task and preparations are already in progress. The deployments to their new home are part of this process, although they serve a dual purpose, as they also assist 109 Squadron maintaining its alert in the north.
The move is part of a larger re-organisation of the IAF over the coming years, which has already led to the disbanding of F-16C-equipped 117 ‘The First Jet’ Squadron at Ramat David on October 13, 2020. This is part of a process of changes that will result in a rather different IAF by 2035. Concentrating the three Barak squadrons at the same base will enable optimisation of manpower and resources.