1) The Vautours of the IAF were adapted to carry various types of armament, quite different than the French, using all three variants for the attack/bombing role.

2) The IIA and IIBR could carry the same loads, while the IIN variabt was capable of lifting a underwings load of the same weight as the other two variants. (Its weapon bay was preferred for fuel storage only).

3) All the Vautours had passed several refits to carry new types of arms, under-wing racks and experimental devices.


1. The Vautours was armed with a variety of HE bombs, weighing 500, 400, 360, 250, 120, 100 and 70 kg. All these types were operational during the years.

2. A small amount of the heavy 1,000 kg. bomb was in inventory, intended to be used against unique targets. This type was not specified in operation orders, and was doubtedly used at all.

3. The 500 kg. bombs were the heaviest bombs used in battle. Up to four bombs (one under each station) were carried under the wings.

4. The 400 kg. bombs were used but this type is not mentioned specifically in the Vautours' orders of alerts or in descriptions of operational attacks . Six of these were carried in the weapons bay. It may be obvious that 400 kg. bombs could also be carried under the wings.

5. The 250 kg. bombs were the most widely used. Six were carried in the weapon bay and up to 8 externally (two clusters of 3 in triple racks under the inner stations, plus one under each of the outer stations ).

6. 120 kg. bombs were also in use during the years. The arrangement for six bombs in the weapons bay was rarely used. Externally these bombs were usually carried under the outer quadruple racks ("NAPAM" Hebrew acronym for QBC - Quadruple Bombs Carrier).

7. The 100 kg. bombs were carried externally as the 120 kg. bombs, i.e. 2x4 under the outer stations. This bomb was also widely used.

8. Practice bombs:
a) 50 kg. bombs, carried as the "full scale" bombs, in the weapons bay (6) and under the wings. The bomb simulated perfectly the larger HE bombs, ensuring that hits during training would result in identical hits using the "real" bombs.
b) "Full-scale" inert bombs, filled with concrete, of 100 kg., 250 kg. and heavier bombs.

[ Various bombs - pictures ]

9. A 360 kg. bomb was developed by the IMI and tested by the Vautour beginning 1958. Serial production commenced only in 1968. The Vautour was the first type of aircraft to use it operationally during 1968 to 1971. This bomb was carried in the weapons bay (6) and under the wings ( in singles, mainly under the outer stations).

[ 360 kg. bomb - picture ]

10. Delay and proximity bomb fuses:

a) Till 1964 "immediate" fuses and "7-12" fuses (detonating in random, 7 to 12 seconds after hit), were in use.
b) From 1964 a "7-15" fuse was added to the former.

c) Proxmity fuses: "Tadmor" type was developed for HE bombs up to 500 kg. It was a Electro-Magnetic fuse, designed to initiate explosion at a desired, pre-planned, height from the ground.

[ Tadmor fuse - picture ]


1. "The Secret Weapon" of the Six Days War was undoubtedly the RP bombs, manufactured by the IMI.

2. Two (or three) types of these bombs had been developed and manufactured. (To be carried by all fighters' types in service) :
* A light 70 kg. bomb.
* One or two heavier bombs, no specific data was published. Apparently these bombs were in the category of 250 kg. and/or 500 kg.

3. The RP bombs were tested in 1966 and entered serial production towards the end of that year.

4. The IAF received, till the Six Days War, 253 RP bombs: 66 of the heavier type and 187 of the 70 kg. type.

5. These bombs proved to be very effective, causing severe damages to critical sections of the runways attcked.

6. All the Vautour variants used the 70 kg. bombs, and carried, for air fields attack, eight (2 x 4, 70 kg. bombs, "NAPAM"-hung ,outer stations).

7. The 70 kg. RP bomb had a length of 1.58 m. and 18 cm. in diameter. Its warhead weighed 48 kg.(!), which was a large percentage of the total weight.

[ RP 70 kg. bomb - picture ]

8. The bomb was dropped from a height of 100 m. After few seconds the chute opened, the bomb's direction turned at 60 deg. towards the ground. Immediately after that the rocket ignited and the bomb hit the runway, piercing the concrete layer. After a delay of 6 sec. the bomb exploded to create a hole of 5 m. in diameter and 1.60 m. of depth. In each bombing pass four (2 of each cluster) were dropped. One bomb out of the eight had also a long-time delay fuse (up to 1.5 hours), to hinder runway's repairs.

The Vautour carried 2 or 4 Napalm tanks, underwings, 458 l' capacity each (ca. 450 kg. of weight).

Early tanks had to be dropped very low, almost in an horizontal trajectory. When the A-A fire became more efficient, a newer type, equipped with tail winglets, entered service, and enabled drop of the tanks from a more secure distance.




1. The Air-to-Surface 105mm T-10 rocket (which was a standard armament of the Ouragan and the Mystere), did not become operational with the Vautour. A cluster of six rockets, on each of the underwings' stations, could be carried, 24 in total. This rocket was used practice and as a target for the Shafrir-1 AAM trials.

2. The IMI developed an anti-armour 82mm (R-82) rocket, since 1964, that was tested by the Vautour. Its development lasted till 1973. The rocket was effective against Soviet tanks armour, fortifications and upper shelters.

[ 82 mm. rocket- pictures ]


The general-purpose 68mm rockets (in "honey-comb" Matra E-116 pods, each containing 19 rockets) were used by the Vautour, as a secondary air-defense armament but mainly for the close support role. This rocket had been improved by the IMI, replacing the regular gunpowder by a more powerful synthetic composition. The IAF received several thousands of this rockets till the Six Days War.

[ 68 mm. rockets - pictures ]


1. The Vautour was involved in testing one of the early Israeli-built ASM.

2. The first model, named "Mal-Ach" ("Angel") was developed in the 50's.

[ "Angel" - pictures ]


3. The Nord AS-20, ASM was candidate for the Vautours armament, but was not purchased.


1. The IAF considered the purchase of the Matra R-511 AAM, but decided to wait for the Israeli first-generation Shafrir-1 AAM.

2. The AA-20 (Nord 5103) was also considered, but the initiative for a licensed production by RAFAEL was not approved.

3. Shafrir-1 AAM
a) This first Israeli AAM was developed by RAFAEL since 1959, and was tested only by the Vautours, all sub-types, beginning 1961.
b) The first order of the IAF, for 200 serial-production missiles, was issued in April 1962 although already known to be of inferior quality.
c) Some 30 operational missiles were in the inventory of the Mirage armament at the beginning of the Six Days War.
d) The missile was tested in Israel using a 105mm T-10 rocket target. One of the testing Vautours (A, no 23) was lost in the explosion of the target missile, when the aircraft was armed (1962).
e) The Shafrir-1 was tested also in France with the radio-controlled target missile CT-20, but it failed to hit the target

f) On the whole -the Shafrir-1 was unsuccessful. In several A-A battles vs. Arab fighters it missed or completely deviated from course.

g) The Shafrir-1 was intended to be the defensive armament for the IIBR, which had no guns. Despite of the AAM's limitations, two AAMs were carried underwings by the photo-reconnaissance Vautours, in operational sorties after the Six Days War.

[ Shafrir-1 - picture ]

h) Guidance: IR homing, Length - 2m., Weight - 81 kg., Range - 4 km. (practical - 1.5 km.). It had to be launched in a very narrow sector (30 deg.) behind the enemy aircraft, and its homing was inefficient due to structure weight asymmetry.

5. Matra R-530 Tests

a) This AAM was tested by the vautour IIN No. 69, in France and in an Algerian missile range, during 1963 - 1964. The semi-active radar-guided variant was purchased (for the Mirage, not the Vautour).

b). The lessons of the Shafrir-1 and the R-530 trials contributed to the MOST successful Shafrir-2, which became fully operational during the War of Attrition, 1969.

6. Shafrir-2
a) The very successful Shafrir-2 was tested by the Vautour, and later the tests were carried out together with the Mirage.

[ Shafrir-2 - picture ]



1. Flares
a) Flares were in use for night operations - attack and photo-recce, usually performed by a pair: one launching flares and the second carrying out the combat mission.
b) The American "Teokol" flare which was in standard use by the IAF, had an intensity of 3.5 million lumens, lighting for 300 secs.
c) The flares were carried in a rocket-like pod, under a wing rack, housing several flares, which could be dropped in singles, according to the pilot's command.

d) The IMI developed a "double flare" of stronger intensity. Since its development ended in 1973, it is only possible that tests had been carried out by the Vautour (?!). [ picture: def-ind ]

e) The flare was fired by a bullet, and opened two light bodies, hung under parachurws. The flare's intensity was 6 million lummens, lasting for 180 secs.

f) No detailes were found about the number or the arrangement of these double-flares. A cluster of such flares, hung under wing, seems logical.

[ Flares - picture ]

2. Smoke bombs
This product was ordered by the IDF paratroopers forces, in order to screen the landing area. The bomb weighed 80 kgs., dropped as a usual bomb, and maintaining 30 min. of "smoke curtain" on the ground. There is no specific evidence for the use of these bombs by the Vautours.

3. Chaff packages
The early radar deception means, carried by the Vautour, were packs of chaff, adhered to the inside of the air brakes. Openning the brakes for a very short time (influencing, of course, the aircraft drag), caused the chaff to separate and drop. The pack exploded by the sudden air hit and dispersed in the vicinity of the launching plane. [ according to Ran Goren ].

4. Heat / IR decoys
The Vautours used some early type of heat producing rounds (in the shape of "tennis balls"), fired from a honey comb pod. These ignited at some distance from the launcher. [ to be validated ]

5. Cameras
a) The 3 Converted IIBR were equiped with several combinations of cameras.
b) Some IIN aircraft were also adapted to photo missions:
(i) As an improvisation: taking photos of the air-to-surface radar screen of the navigator's cockpit.
(ii) Installing cameras in the nose,
instead of the gun pack.

* see the Improvements and Upgrades section for details.

EW Measures & ECM
a) Early EW measures were developed by "Rafael" (R&D Authority), in 1963 - 4. Some other equipment was purchased (from France?).
b) Towards the Six Days War a ECM pod, codenamed "Yabelet" (callus) entered service. Two Vautours, the "70" and another IIN, were fit to carry two pods each.
c) The Yabelet pods were carried under the outer underwing stations.
d) The Yabelet could scan, detect and jamm 16 frequencies, in the range used by the Egyptian and Syrian search radars and A-A batteries' fire control. The Yabelet was operational during the Six Days War and afterwards.

[ Yabelet pod - pictures ]

e) More advanced measures were developed to fit EW against the SA-2 & SA-3 SAMs. It is reasonable that these updated devices were also adapted to the Vautour at the end of their serice. The true replacement for the EW role was, after some gap, the F-4E Phantom in a "Wild-Weasel"-like configuration.

[ Pictures of armed Vautours ]


Variant/s Mission Weapons Bay Inner Underwing Stations Outer Underwing Stations Total Armament Load
ALL Long-Range Bombing (Fuel) (Fuel Tanks) 2 x 500 kg. bombs 2 bombs; 1,000 kg.
ALL Medium-Range Bombing (Fuel) 2 x 500 kg. bombs 2 x 500 kg. bombs 4 bombs; 2,000 kg.
IIA Medium-Range Bombing 6 x 250 kg. bombs (Fuel Tanks) 2 x 500 kg. bombs 8 bombs; 2,500 kg.
IIA Short-Range Bombing 6 x 250 kg. bombs 6 x 250 kg. bombs 2 x 500 kg. bombs 14 bombs; 4,000 kg.
IIA Short-Range Bombing 6 x 400 kg. bombs 2 x 500 kg. bombs 2 x 500 kg. bombs 10 bombs; 4,400 kg.
All Long-Range Airfield Attack (Fuel) (Fuel Tanks) 8 x 70 kg. RP bombs 8 bombs; 560 kg.
IIA Short-Range Napalm & Bombs Attack 6 x 250 kg. bombs 2 x 458 l' Napalm tanks (~ 900 kg.) 2 x 458 l' Napalm tanks (~ 900 kg.) 6 bombs+4 Napalm tanks, ca. 3,300 kg.
IIA Short-Medium Range, Close Support 6 x 250 kg. bombs (Fuel Tanks) 2 x 19 68mm rockets pods 6 bombs; 1,500 kg. + 38 rockets
IIN Long-Range Air-Patrol (Fuel) (Fuel Tanks) (none) or (2 x 19 68mm rockets pods) [guns only] or [guns + rockets]
IIN/NE Long-Range ECM sortie (Fuel) 2x1,300 l' Fuel Tanks 2 "Yabelet" ECM pods [guns only, or no guns at all]
IIBR Long-Range PR sortie [Fuel+cameras] [Fuel Tanks] [2x600l' Fuel Tanks] none




This section was last revised: May, 2002