Chapter 2.1

The IAI LAVI Project – The Dream and Downfall

An interview with Prof. Ovadia Harari of Blessed Memory

During the second half of the 1970s, the Israeli Air Force had had four main types of attack aircraft: two single-engine fighters, the Skyhawk and the Delta; the Shachak, Nesher, and Kfir models; the two-engine Phantom; and their leading model, the two-engine F15. Around that time, the Air Force began to see the need to replace the Skyhawks and the Deltas with a more advanced, single-engine aircraft.

Israel Aerospace Industries, the company in charge of producing the Nesher and Kfir models, understood that the day when these types of aircraft would no longer be in demand was not far off and was preparing to face the task of developing a new fighter plane.

These preparations were not being made in response to a specific request made by a client. The discourse concerning the need for a new aircraft never went beyond the spontaneous, informal expression of ideas and standpoints between high-ranking Air Force officers. Naturally, these officers maintained continuous contact with IAI, and so, inevitably, word traveled. In other words, because the Air Force had not presented any formal request or demand for the production of such an aircraft, it was impossible to tell what sort of performance it was required to deliver. Moreover, whether the need would even be realized remained unclear. For instance, the Israeli government might not have approved an order for a new ...

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