IAF Chief Visits Wounded Pilot; Praises His Actions

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Israel Air Force Commander Major-General Amikam Norkin on Sunday, 26 Shevat, visited the wounded pilot who ejected from his F-16i during the operation targeting Iranian objectives in Syria. The pilot remains in moderate/good condition in Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

In his exchange of words with Major ‘A’, the pilot, Norkin said, “From the moment you understood that you must eject from the plane, you made the correct decision and as a result, you saved your own life and that of your navigator.”

The plane’s navigator, who was lightly injured, was already released from the hospital.

The incident is under investigation. It has already been reported the Syrian surface-to-air missile did not strike the plane, but a fragment of the missile did after it exploded. It remains to be seen if this is a final determination.

It is also being probed if the pilot and navigator were so engulfed in the mission they were on, that they neglected to activate the plane’s defense system after realizing the Syrian missile locked on to the plane. Instead, they ejected and the plane was lost.

In a conversation on Monday morning 27 Shevat with Kol Chai Radio host Betzalel Kahan, Hamodia military correspondent Yisrael Katzover pointed out a few facts.

The plane was struck by Syrian fire when it was back in Israeli territory. He explained there were a total of eight planes, as reported by YWN-ISRAEL, and a second plane was also targeted by Syrian missiles but evaded them by dropping to a much lower altitude. Katzover explained the surface-to-air missiles only operate at a certain altitude, adding the plane that was hit could have done the same and this is under investigation, as cited above.

Katzover added what is also known is the planes were successful in their mission, and the Syrians were shocked to learn that 40%-45% of its aerial defense system has been eliminated by Israel, as the planes were acting on accurate information regarding the location of their objectives.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: IDF Spokesman Unit)