History[edit | edit source]
Flown under escort to Hatzor on 16 August 1966, by defecting pilot Munir Redfa,[N 1] as part of Operation Diamond, this aircraft was renumbered 007.[N 2] It was later used for a series of test flights, with Israeli test pilot Danny Shapira at the controls. The jet's strengths and weaknesses were analyzed, and it was flown against IAF fighters, eventually training Israeli pilots to deal with the aircraft.
In January 1968, Israel loaned the MiG to the United States, which evaluated the jet under the Have Doughnut program.[N 3]
The evaluation flights, which saw the MiG flown under the cover designation YF-110, were concluded on 8 April 1968, after which the aircraft was returned to Israel, and placed on display at the Israeli Air Force Museum in Hatzerim.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Redfa, a Maronite Christian serving with the Iraqi Air Force, was annoyed that his Christian roots prevented his promotion in the military. He was also upset that he had been ordered to attack Iraqi Kurds. When a female Mossad agent befriended Redfa, he told her that he was forced to live far away from his family in Baghdad, he was not trusted by his commanders, and allowed to fly only with small fuel tanks because of his Christianity. He also expressed his admiration towards Israelis, "few against so many Muslims". Redfa was persuaded to travel to Europe to meet with Israeli agents, offered $1 million, Israeli citizenship, and full-time employment. Redfa's conditions about smuggling all his relatives out of Iraq were accepted. Later Redfa traveled to Israel to see the airfield he was going to use to land the plane. He also met with the commander of Israeli Air Force, Major General Mordechai "Mottie" Hod, and discussed the dangerous flight and its path.
- The code number for fictional spy James Bond, this was a subtle reference to the way the jet was acquired.
- The transfer helped pave the way for the Israeli acquisition of the F-4 Phantom, which the Americans had been reluctant to sell to Israel.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Norton, Bill (2004). Air War on the Edge – A History of the Israel Air Force and its Aircraft since 1947. Midland Publishing. p. 382. ISBN 1-85780-088-5.
- Ian Black and Benny Morris (2007). Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services. Grove Press. pp. 206–209. ISBN 978-0-8021-3286-4.
- Loch K. Johnson (2007). Strategic Intelligence, Volume 1. Praeger Security International. pp. 75–76. ISBN 0-275-98943-7.
- Uzi Mahnaimi (June 3, 2007). "Stolen Iraqi jet helped Israel win six-day war". The Times.
- Weiss, Reuven (May 29, 2007). "The Blue Bird Legend". Ynet. Retrieved July 31, 2010.