The Vautour Pages



1. The situation of Israel, after the Six Days War, was radically changed, in many aspects: political, economically, social and military.

2. The main military aspects of the post-war era were:

a) Vast occupied areas, long borders and long lines of supply.
b) End of the French period, switching to American military equipment.
c) Arousal of terrorist activity against Israel, supported by the Arab countries.

3. The new borders were an advantage for the IAF - large aerial terrain for training had become available, but, on the other hand - the ranges from Israeli AFBs to Arab targets, especially Egyptian, were long, beyond the capabilities of the French aging fighters.

4. Soon after the end of the war, hostilities, with all the neighboring countries, resumed. These escalated in 1969 to "The War Of Attrition", initiated by Egypt, that lasted till August 1970.

5. The period between the end of the Six Days War and the August 1970 truce,is sometimes called "The 1000 days war".

6. During the last years of the Vautour's service the IAF renewed its inventory, besides the Skyhawk and the Phantom, also with the "Saar" (Upgraded Super Mystere, convertion completed 1972), and the "Nesher" (Israeli version of the Mirage-5, entered service 1971). On the other hand, the elderly Ouragans and Mysteres phased out during 1972/3 and 1971, respectivly.


1. Just after the war the Vautours' condition was quite bad. Losses and damages (some sources report 4 vautours severly damaged, and need long repairs), combined with the French embargo, made it hard to maintain the small aircraft inventory.

2. The gross (calculated) strengrh was of 14 Vautours, of which hardly half serviceable. Nevertheless, the Vautours still had many missions ahead, serving for about three and a half years more.

3. The arrival of the Skyhawks, end of 1967, placed the Vautours in secondary priority for the attack roles. The Vautours were mostly assigned to less defended targets, and performed short range close- support missions and anti-terrorists attacks. Long range interdictions or strike attack became rare as the new American aircraft went into action.

4. A part of the Vautour pilots were converted to the new Skyhawks. In parallel - the Vautours' navigators became the nucleus of the Phantoms "System Operators", and left for conversion in the U.S.A already in 1968. So it happened that a new generation of Vautour crewmen had to be trained "on the job".

5. Two roles were still the Vautours specialty: photo-recce and EW, carried out by the few N and BR variants. These Vautours were finally replaced by the Phantom in the corresponding roles only by the end of the Vautours service.

6. The gross inventory of the Vautours, just after the Six Days War :

A : 03, 05, 09, 12, 17, 18, 21, 26 . [ = 8 ]
BR : 31, 33 [= 2 ]
N : 62, 66 {EW & PR), 67, 70 (EW) [ = 4 ] [ No. 61, after overhaul, joined, probably, till end of 1967 ]
Total inventory: 14 { including those in repair }.

7. Because of the French embargo it was decided to refurbished the A-20, and two other Vautours A { Nos. 29 and 30 } were purchased in semi-clandestine ways. This reinforcement of 3 aircraft enabled the continuity of the Vautours activivity.

8. Vautour No. 70 was converted, after the loss of BR-31, in 1968, to PR missions, besides its EW capabilities.

9. During the post-wae period 3 Vautours were lost - two in combat and one in accident.

10. The Skyhawks entered Sqn. 110 service in July-August 1970, and the flight of Vautours remained, partly active.

11. During 1970 and 1971 the Vautours were gradually phased out. The last to end their service were the special N-70 and BR-33. The last Vautour was withdrawn March 1972. Some 10 had been transferred to Refidim and El-Arish AFBs, and used as decoys.

Vautour 20 The refurbished A-20, joined the force in July 1970.


[ in blue: events of general importance ] ______ [ in dark blue: Vautours operations ]
    July 8, 1967 :
  • First cease fire violation: Egyptians shelling and air attacks along the Suez Canal line.

    September 20, 1967
  • A quartet of Vautours attacks Jordan artillery in the eastern side of the valley.

    October 21, 1967 :
  • The Israeli destroyer "Eilat" was sunk in a missile ambush near the Egyptian Shore, at night. Two Vautours and a Super Mystere helped the SAR activities by dropping flares. The Vautours crews were [ A. Tzivoni ] and [ ? ].

    November 7, 1967 :
  • Two formations, of 4 Vautours each, attacked Jordanian artillery in the central Jordan Valley region.

    December 1st, 1967 :
  • Two Vautours perormed a PR sortie along the Suez Canal.
  • The Vautour BR-31 [ Artsi and Raz ] was escorted by [ Y. Gal and M. Eini ].
  • BR-31 was shot down by A-A fire, and fell into the gulf waters. The two crewmen were declared MIA.

    December 29, 1967 :
  • Arrival of the first A-4H Skyhawks, entering service with "The Valley Squadron". The Skyhawks were the "work horses" of the IAF after the Six Days War, and during a considerable part of the "War Of Attrition"

    January 2nd, 1968
  • Attack of terrorists bases in Jordan.

    February 24, 1968
  • Attack of two terrorists bases, El-Hamma and Myslun, Jordan.

    March 21, 1968, Operation "Toffet" {Hell}
  • A ground raid on Ka-Ra-Me terrorist base, Jordan.
  • Losing the element of surprise, the forces faced severe difficulties when Jordanian armour advanced towards the region.
  • The IAF was alarmed, and formations of Vautours and Mysteres attacked the Jordanian reinforcement near A-dam bridge, while other IAF fighters attacked other sites. Aerial support was also needed to help SAR and evacuation.

    May 1968 :
  • Refidim (ex. Bir-Gafgafa) AFB became operational for transport and helicopters.
  • A detachment of Mirage fighters, on shifts basis, was constantly posted for intercept alerts.
  • The base used also as emergency landing field for damaged aircraft returning from combat missions in Egypt.

    May 2, 1968 :
  • Independence Day, the biggest parade ever seen, took place in Jerusalem, More than 400 IAF aircraft flew over the City and continued their ceremonial flight all over the country.
  • 12 Vautours participated.

    August 4, 1968 :
  • Attack of terrorists base E-Salt, Jordan

    September 8, 1968:
  • The Egyptians renewed artillery fire on Israeli posts along the Canal.

    December 28-29, 1968. Raid on Beiruth airport
  • As a response to terrorists' attacks of civil Israeli airliners, a heli-born commando force raids Beiruth international airport. {Operation "Teshura" - Gift}.
  • The force took off frpm Ramat David.
  • Four Vautours and a pair of Skyhawks were set in alert to intervene, if necessary, by flares or to attack Lebanese reinforcement.

    1968 - date unknown
  • A PR sortie to H-3 was carried out.


    January 1969
  • France declared embargo on the 50 Mirage-5J, already produced, (and another 50 ordered).

    February 24, 1969
  • In response to "Katyusha" rockets shelling of Beit Shean, Four Vautours and four Skyhawks attacked terrorists bases in Syria.
  • The leadeing crewmen were [ Y. Terner {Sqn. Com.} and U. Talmor).

    March 1969
  • Attacks on terrorists camps in Jordan (14/3, 16/3 and 26/3) Probably with the participation of Vautours) .

    March 3, 1969:
  • Egypt opened the War Of Attrition, by massive shelling on our posts along the Suez Canal. SAM batteries were moved to the canal vicinity.

    April 22, 1969
  • Attack on a Jordanian radar station, at Adj-lun by a formation led by Y. Terner. One Vautour was shot down by a-a fire, pilot KIA. { see also the [ Losses ] section }.

    May 1969
  • Attacks on terrorists camps in southern Jordan, Edom mountains (1/5, 4/5), Probably with the participation of Vautours).

    June 1969
  • Attacks on Jordanian army targets in the Jordan Valley (18/6, 22/6) Probably with the participation of Vautours .

    July 1st, 1969
  • Attacks on terrorists camps in Jordan, Probably with the participation of Vautours) .

    July 2, 1969
  • The beginning of A-A battles over Egypt, involving many fighters. These battles were named "Texas" and "Arizona", (having in mind Western duals..).

    July 12, 1969
  • The beginning of aerial attacks on targets in the depth of Egypt. The attacks were code named "Boxer", numbered as "Boxer-1", "Boxer-2", etc.

    July 20, 1969
  • In one of the "Boxer-1" operations Skyhawks of 3 squadrons attacked SAM batteries, and Vautours attacked posts (including the fortified Grinn Island) and several maintenance centers.

    July 1969
  • Three "Boxer" attacks by Vautours:
    * July 22: Vautour N-62, crew [ H. Bodinger, O. Erez ]
    * July 25: Vautour N-66, crew [ S. Zimon, O. Erez ], probably included photo shots.
    * July 26: Vautour N-62, crew [ M. Yeshurun, O. Erez ]

    July 27, 1969
  • The IAF carried out a massive attack of a Syrian artillery force on its way to Jordan. In the night attack participated 8 Skyhawks, 8 Super Mystere and 3 Vautours dropping flares.
  • The Syrian convoy was destroyed completely.

    July 30, 1969
  • The beginning of attacks aimed to terrorists camps, Lebanon and Mount Hermon ( named "Fatakh-Land").

    Septenber 6, 1969
  • The five first F-4E Phantoms arrived, and entered service in a new squadron {"The One"}.
  • Three of the first Phantom navigators were Vautour "graduates".
  • The F-4E Phantom was the true successor of the Vautour fighter-bomber.

    September 9, 1969 "Raviv" operation
  • An armoured raid in the Egyptian territory was carried out by a small force, equipped with Soviet, captured, AFVs.
  • Prior to the raid, and as a diversion, the naval base of Ras-Zaafrana was attacked by a single Vautour, N-67, crew: [ M. Dvir, O. Erez ].

    October 15, 1969
  • Vautours attacked 3 Jordanian posts, south to the Dead Sea, which were manned by Saudi troops.

    November, night of 8-9, 1969
  • An unsuccessful night attack of an Egyptian destroyer that shelled Israeli targets in Western Sinai, was made. { by Vautours ? }

    November 17, 1969
  • A single Vautour N functioned as forward air control for Skyhawks' attack of Jordanian artilerry.

    December 21, 1969
  • A single Vautour N flew as forward air control, assiting Skyhawks attack of Iraqi artilerry force that had entered Jordan.

    December 23, 1969
  • Before the "Kidnapping" raid of a SAM radar, the Vautour BR-33 flew a photo mission over Ras-Anab. (the raid itself was finally carries out December 26).

    December 28, 1969
  • A single Vautour dropped flares in a night attack on the Jordanian radar station at Adj-Lun.


Not many details were available, so far, regarding the Vautours activity in 1970, their withdrawl, storage and actual end of service.
The few data collected is given below.
Help is needed in order to complete this last chapter of the Vautour's carreer

  • January 7, 1970 Beginning of IAF attacks of inland Egypt targets.
  • February 28, 1970 :Egyptian SAM-3, with Russian crews, became operational.
  • July 1970 : Russian pilots began flying Egyptian Migs.
  • July 30, 1970 : 5 Migs, piloted by Russian, were shot down in air battle.
  • August 8, 1970 : End of War of Attrition, truce declared.
  • End of 1970: Most Vautours Withdrawn from active service and stored. Probably two, N-70 AND BR-33, continued operational activity.




    This page was last updated: April 17, 2002