Meteors vs Vampires: When British fighter jets clashed over Middle East

Shlomo Aloni describes the combat career of Israel’s first jet fighter

Israel entered the jet age in June 1953 when the first pair of Gloster Meteors T.7s was delivered from the UK. The trainers were soon joined by more T.7s, and a batch of single-seat F.8s. The factory-fresh aircraft were assigned to a new unit, Squadron 117, at Ramat David in the north of the country. They didn’t have long to wait for the call to action.

Two Meteors were scrambled in July 1954 to intercept Egyptian Hawker Fury fighters that had reportedly violated Israeli airspace. One Meteor radioed in a snag that prevented departure and only Aaron Yoeli took off. By the time he arrived over the area of incursion the Egyptians were nowhere to be seen.

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