MOSQUITO SALUTE Last Israeli ops
Having acquired more than 90 Mosquitos, the Israeli Air Force became the last to use the type in a full-scale war, and continued to task it on operational reconnaissance missions as late as 1958. It thus sets the seal on the ‘Mossie’s’ front-line story
The Israeli Air Force was activated in accordance with a plan that envisioned an air arm encompassing up to 12 squadrons, including up to four tasked with bombing and reconnaissance. The types originally earmarked for these units were the Douglas A-20 Havoc and North American B-25 Mitchell. However, when Israel was formed in May 1948, the fledgling nation faced an Arab League invasion and a United Nations embargo. The hasty acquisition of anything available replaced the organised implementation of planning.
Within a year the air force inducted more than 30 types of aircraft, many irrelevant to its missions, and mostly few of each. This mish-mash included two British civil-registered Mosquito PRXVIs. Seemingly ‘commercial’ aircraft were beyond the scope of the UN embargo, and Israel planned to modify the Mosquitos locally for the strike and recce roles. The first, G-AIRT (formerly NS812), arrived in July 1948 and was assigned to 103 Squadron at Ramat David, which had been activated with Douglas DC-3s but was then issued additional aircraft of similar weight with twin engines: a Douglas DC-5, Bristol Beaufighters and later Lockheed Hudsons.