Tel Nof Israeli Air Force (ICAO: LLEK), also known as Air Force Base 8, is one of three principal airbases of the Israeli Air Force. Tel Nof is located near Rehovot, Israel.
Tel Nof was founded in July 1939 during the British Mandate as RAF Aqir and served as the main Royal Air Force station in Palestine. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, it was known as Ekron Airbase.
Today Tel Nof houses several fighter and helicopter squadrons. Several special units of the Israel Defense Forces are also based there, including Unit 669 (airborne combat search and rescue) and the paratroopers training center. Tel Nof housed the IAF flight academy until April 1966 when it was moved to Hatzerim Airbase.
In June 2011, it was reported that eight American jet engines for F-15 and F-16 fighters had been stolen from the base.
On October 18, 2011, Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been held captive by Hamas in Gaza for over five years and four months, returned to Israel via Tel Nof as part of a deal to exchange Shalit for 1,027 prisoners.
- 106th Squadron - operating F-15AB/C/D
- 114th Squadron - operating CH-53
- 118th Squadron - operating CH-53
- 133rd Squadron - operating F-15A/B/D
- 210th Squadron - operating IAI Eitan UAVs
- Flight Test Center
- Unit 669, airborne combat search and rescue.
- Paratrooper Training Center
RAF Aqir Operational units
Operational units of the Royal Air Force stationed at RAF Aqir from 1941 to 1948.
- No. 6 Squadron RAF (1941) Westland Lysander
- No. 10 Squadron RAF detachment (1942) Handley Page Halifax
- No. 11 Squadron RAF (1941) Bristol Blenheim IV
- No. 32 Squadron RAF (1946) Supermarine Spitfire IX
- No. 37 Squadron RAF (1945) Consolidated Liberator VI
- No. 45 Squadron RAF (1941) Bristol Blenheim IV
- No. 55 Squadron RAF (1941) Bristol Blenheim IV
- No. 70 Squadron RAF (1945) Consolidated Liberator VI
- No. 76 Operational Training Unit RAF Vickers Wellington - Formed at RAF Aqir on 1 October 1943, equipped with Vickers Wellington Mk.IIIs and Xs to train night bomber crews for squadrons in the Middle East, disbanding on 30 July 1945. 76 OTU, despite operating Wellingtons, were also working up crews for B-24 Liberators. After completion of their course those crews were passed on to Liberator conversion units.
- No. 80 Squadron RAF (1941) Hawker Hurricane I
- No. 84 Squadron RAF (1941) Bristol Blenheim IV
- No. 113 Squadron RAF (1946–1947) Handley Page Halifax
- No. 159 Squadron RAF (1942) Consolidated Liberator II
- No. 160 Squadron RAF (1942) Consolidated Liberator II
- No. 162 Squadron RAF (1942) Vickers Wellington later Bristol Blenheim IV
- No. 208 Squadron RAF (1941) Hawker Audax and (1946) Supermarine Spitfire VIII
- No. 211 Squadron RAF (1941) Bristol Blenheim IV
- No. 215 Squadron RAF (1947) Douglas Dakota
- No. 221 Squadron RAF detachment (1945) Vickers Wellington XII
- No. 227 Squadron RAF (1942) Handley Page Halifax
- No. 250 Squadron RAF (1941) Curtiss Tomhawk IIB
- No. 294 Squadron RAF detachment (1944) Vickers Wellington IC
- No. 335 Squadron RAF (1941) Hawker Hurricane I
- No. 450 Squadron RAAF (1941) Hawker Hurricane I
- No. 620 Squadron RAF (1946) Douglas Dakota and Handley Page Halifax
- No. 621 Squadron RAF (1946) Avro Lancaster ASRIII
- No. 680 Squadron RAF detachment (1945) Fairchild Argus
- Playfair, Vol. I, page 69.
- "Tel Nof". Global Security. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/tel_nof.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- Jordan, Bryant. "Fighter Jet Engines Stolen from Israeli Base." Military.com, 18 June 2011.
- "Schalit lands at Tel Nof IAF base to meet family, Netanyahu" (18 October 2011). Jerusalem Post.
- IWM CM 5756
- Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.) & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2009) [1st. pub. HMSO:1954]. Butler, Sir James. ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume I: The Early Successes Against Italy, to May 1941. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-065-3.
- Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
- Sturtivant, Ray, ISO and John Hamlin. RAF Flying Training And Support Units since 1912. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2007. ISBN 0-85130-365-X.
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