Air Weapons

IAI

Nesher

The story of the IAI Nesher (Eagle) fighter is one of the most illustrative of the extremes that countries would go to obtain the latest combat aircraft during the Cold War. Israel had been the first export customer of the new Mirage 5 multi-role fighter ordering a total of 50 examples which had already been built and paid for when de Gaulle's French government ordered a total arms embargo on Israel on the eve of the Six Day War. But in a daring act of espionage, the Israelis obtained the necessary blueprints and proceeded to reverse engineer it (including its engine) without a license. In reality, however, the aircraft were actually supplied in crates and only assembled in Israel although this was not known to the public at the time. Neshers saw action during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and were exported to Argentina where they were used successfully during the Falklands War.

The first flight of an IAI assembled Nesher took place in September 1969. These differed from the Mirage 5 by having local avionics, Martin-Baker ejection seats, as well as the ability to carry existing Israeli weapons such as the Shafrir or Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Additionally, a few two seat trainers were built. Argentinian units were known as the Dagger many of which are still in service today.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignNesher
TypeFighter-Bomber
Year1971
Crew1
Dimensions
Length15.56 m
Height4.50 m
Wing Span8.22 m
Wing Area34.8 m²
Weight
Empty6,600 kg
Maximum13,700 kg
Wing Loading393.7 kg/m²
Performance
SpeedMach 2.2
Ceiling17,000 m
Range1,300 km
Powerplant
Engine1 x Atar 9C
SNECMA
6,200 kgf
Thrust/Weight0.85
Armament
Guns2 x 30-mm
Payload4,000 kg
Hardpoints7
Production
Built51
Total61