In approximately one year, the IAF's 116th Squadron will be reestablished as an "Adir" (F-35I) squadron. This week (Monday), a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the establishment of its first designated building.
In approximately one year, the IAF's 116th ("Defenders of the South") Squadron will be reestablished as an "Adir" (F-35I) squadron. This week (Monday), a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the establishment of its first designated building, headed by IAF Chief of Air Staff, Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar. "This building will act as a temporary home for the establishment crew, and will later be utilized by the squadron's technical department", said Maj. G', an aircrew member and a part of the establishment crew.
"Today, we reveal the emblem of the 116th Squadron. We are required to protect, and that is our greatest strength", said Brig. Gen. Bar, and Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim, Commander of Nevatim AFB, added: "The previous iteration of the 116th Squadron was based in Nevatim AFB, a base with momentum. The squadron joining the 'Adir' Division signifies that same momentum. It's exciting to see how the force's service members worked together to get to where we are now".
The two squadrons making up the IAF's "Adir" Division – the 140th and 116th Squadrons – previously operated the "Netz" fighter jet, which was decommissioned in 2015 prior to the integration of the "Adir". "We chose to integrate the new aircraft into a squadron with a long-lasting legacy instead of establishing a new one", said Lt. Col. N'. "The 116th Squadron has existed for many years, and the 'Adir' is the fifth type of aircraft operated by the squadron".
From Squadron to Division
The 116th Squadron was established over 60 years ago in Tel-Nof AFB. "We placed the building's first cornerstone less than a year ago, and today we mark the first step in our process", said Lt. Col. N', the commander of the establishment crew.
The establishment crew learned lessons from the establishment of the first "Adir" squadron in 2015. "Our first challenge was deciding what would be different and what would be similar to the establishment of the 140th Squadron", said Lt. Col. N'. "The 116th Squadron signifies the beginning of the 'Adir' Division. A big part of the establishment process is related to this expansion – we take a developed squadron and maintain its strength while developing another one alongside it".
How it's Made
The 116th Squadron may have a long history, but this is only the beginning of its new path, and the establishment crew must conclude several processes before the squadron can be declared operational. "The first stage focuses on recruiting the right personnel for the job", said Maj. M', a member of the establishment crew. "At the same time, we look to the future and try to estimate what will be required of the squadron during operational activity, as well as the required infrastructure".
The squadron's technical department also needs to establish the elements, find the right people and begin working in order to reach the necessary standard. "The technical department is growing thanks to the service members from the 140th Squadron who bring their knowledge, professionalism and experience", said Maj. Rodrigo Rosetski, the squadron's technical officer. "When the core is strong, that same strength echoes out and reaches everyone else in the department".
A New Beginning
The squadron's official emblem was revealed during the ceremony. "It was important for us to stick to the original emblem. The squadron began with operating first-generation aircraft – now it operates fifth-gen", elaborated Lt. Col. N'. "We decided to invert the colors as a symbol of the significant shift. In addition, the dots behind the stripes are Morse code for 'the 116th Squadron'".
"We hope to cooperate with the 140th Squadron when we're declared operational", concluded Maj. M'. "I think the squadron will be an important asset for the division, and I can already imagine groundbreaking operational activity in the future".