In July of 1999, Israel announced that it would like to order 50 two-seat multi-role F-16Is, the order being placed under the terms of the Peace Marble V FMS program. This announcement was a disappointment to Boeing, since they hoped to sell Israel more F-15Is.
An initial Peace Marble V contract was signed on January 14, 2000, with a follow-on contract signed on Dec 19, 2001 for a total procurement of 102 aircraft. This made the F-16I order the largest Israeli F-16 order yet. Initial deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2004 and should take about three years to complete. This program increased the total number of IDF/AF F-16 aircraft to 362, giving the IDF/AF the largest fleet of F-16s outside the USA.
The F-16I for Israel is based on current Block 50/52 production aircraft and is equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68(V)X fire control radar. The IDF/AF has selected the F-16I in a two-seat configuration only, with the front cockpit being for the pilot and the rear cockpit for the weapons system operator. The F16I is fitted with a dorsal avionics compartment. The large dorsal compartment extends from the rear of the cockpit to the fin and houses additional avionics systems, chaff and flare dispensers and the aircraft’s in-flight refuelling receptacle. The F-16I is fitted with a pair of removable conformal fuel tanks mounted on both sides of the upper fuselage. These tanks have onaly a small effect on the aircraft's agility, and they free up the two underwing inner pylons for weapons carriage. The F-16I is also fitted with a dorsal avionics compartment, which extends from the rear of the cockpit to the fin, and carries additional avionics systems, chaff and flare dispensers, as well as the aircraft's inflight refuelling receptacle. The F-16I contract will also include Lockeed Martin LANTIRN navigation and targeting pods.
The planes will also be provided with Israeli-built equipment to make them compatible with the Raytheon Python 5 AAM and the Popeye 2 ASM. Approximately 50 percent of the avionics are Israeli-developed. Examples are the Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy replacing the ALE-50 and autonomous aerial combat maneuvering instrumentation, which enables training exercises to be conducted without dependence on ground instrumentation. Elbit Systems produced the aircraft's helmet-mounted heads-up display (HUD), mission and presentation computers, and digital map display. Furthermore, the F-16I can carry the Rafael Python 5 infrared-guided air-to-air missile and often uses Isreael Aircraft Industries (IAI)'s removable conformal fuel tanks (CFT) for extended range.
Initially, the Israeli government did not specify whether the F-16I would be powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 or the General Electric F110-GE-129 engines. In mid 1999, Israel announced that it had selected the Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-229 turbofan as the engine for its 50 F-16Is. This offers commonality with the IDF/AFs F-15I.
The first F-16I made its maiden flight on December 23, 2003 at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The first IDF/AF F-16I was officially handed over to the IDF/AF at Ft Worth, TX Nov 14, 2003. The F-16I is known as the Sufa (Storm) in IDF/AF service. The first unit to operate the F-16I was the Negev Squadron, which was reformed at Ramon on July 27, 2003 to operate the Suefa. The next unit to reequip with the Suefa was the Orange Tail Knights Squadron, also at Ramon, followed by the Bat Squadron. Deliveries were completed at a rate of about 2 a month over the next four years, with the final delivery taking place in 2009.
IDF/AF Sufa were briefly grounded on March 20, 2008 because of a high level of formaldehyde in the cockpits of a few of the aircraft. The aircraft were restored to flight status shortly thereafter.
Serials of F-16I Sufa aircraft
00-1001/1050 Lockheed Martin F-16I Block 52+ Fighting Falcon MSN YD-1/50. To Israel AF under Peace Marble V. 1001 (YD-1) IDF/AF 401. remains in USA for use by F-16 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB. 1002 IDF/AF 403 1003 IDF/AF 404 1004 IDF/AF 253 1005 IDF/AF 407 1006 IDF/AF 408 1007 IDF/AF 410 1008 IDF/AF 411 1009 IDF/AF 413 1010 IDF/AF 415 1011 IDF/AF 417 1012 IDF/AF 421 1013 IDF/AF 422 1014 IDF/AF 425 1015 IDF/AF 427 1016 IDF/AF 430 1017 IDF/AF 432 1018 IDF/AF 434 1019 IDF/AF 437 1020 IDF/AF 440 1021 IDF/AF 441 1022 IDF/AF 444 1023 IDF/AF 445 1024 IDF/AF 447 1025 IDF/AF 448 1026 IDF/AF 451 1027 IDF/AF 455 1028 IDF/AF 456 1029 IDF/AF 457 1030 IDF/AF 459 1031 IDF/AF 462 1032 IDF/AF 463 1033 IDF/AF 466 1034 IDF/AF 468 1035 IDF/AF 469 1036 IDF/AF 470 1037 IDF/AF 471 1038 IDF/AF 476 1039 IDF/AF 477 1040 IDF/AF 478 1041 IDF/AF 480. Crashed Nov 10, 2010. The aircraft was part of a four-ship formation that was on a training exercise from Ramon AFB and crashed in the area of Mitzpeh Ramon. Both crew killed. 1042 IDF/AF 482 1043 IDF/AF 486 1044 IDF/AF 488 1045 IDF/AF 489. Plane crashed Jul 19, 2006 while taking off from an IDF base in the Negev desert as part of operations against targets in Lebanon. An initial report suggests that one of the jets tyres burst on take-off, causing instabilities to the jet which was loaded with armaments. The crew followed ejection procedures and the aircraft crashed without causing any injuries on the ground. Some sources state this mishap wasn't a complete write-off but that the aircraft was captured in the emergency net at the end of the runway and should be repairable 1046 IDF/AF 491 1047 IDF/AF 493 1048 IDF/AF 494 1049 IDF/AF 497 1050 IDF/AF 499 99-0400/0451 Lockheed Martin F-16I Sufa MSN YD-51/YD102. For Israeli AF 0400 (MSN YD-51) to IDFAF 107. W/o Jul 8, 2013 0401 (MSN YD-52) to IDFAF 803 0402 (MSN YD-53) to IDFAF 808 0403 (MSN YD-54) to IDFAF 811 0404 (MSN YD-55) to IDFAF 813 0405 (MSN YD-56) to IDFAF 816 0406 (MSN YD-57) to IDFAF 823 0407 (MSN YD-58) to IDFAF 826 0408 (MSN YD-59) to IDFAF 827 0409 (MSN YD-60) to IDFAF 833 0410 (MSN YD-61) to IDFAF 836 0411 (MSN YD-62) to IDFAF 839 0412 (MSN YD-63) to IDFAF 843 0413 (MSN YD-64) to IDFAF 844 0414 (MSN YD-65) to IDFAF 846 0415 (MSN YD-66) to IDFAF 848 0416 (MSN YD-67) to IDFAF 849 0417 (MSN YD-68) to IDFAF 851 0418 (MSN YD-69) to IDFAF 852 0419 (MSN YD-70) to IDFAF 854 0420 (MSN YD-71) to IDFAF 855 0421 (MSN YD-72) to IDFAF 857 0422 (MSN YD-73) to IDFAF 858 0423 (MSN YD-74) to IDFAF 860 0424 (MSN YD-75) to IDFAF 862 0425 (MSN YD-76) to IDFAF 863 0426 (MSN YD-77) to IDFAF 864 0427 (MSN YD-78) to IDFAF 865 0428 (MSN YD-79) to IDFAF 868 0429 (MSN YD-80) to IDFAF 869 0430 (MSN YD-81) to IDFAF 871 0431 (MSN YD-82) to IDFAF 872 0432 (MSN YD-83) to IDFAF 873 0433 (MSN YD-84) to IDFAF 874 0434 (MSN YD-85) to IDFAF 875 0435 (MSN YD-86) to IDFAF 876 0436 (MSN YD-87) to IDFAF 877 0437 (MSN YD-88) to IDFAF 878 0438 (MSN YD-89) to IDFAF 879 0439 (MSN YD-90) to IDFAF 880 0440 (MSN YD-91) to IDFAF 881 0441 (MSN YD-92) to IDFAF 882 0442 (MSN YD-93) to IDFAF 884 0443 (MSN YD-94) to IDFAF 886 0444 (MSN YD-95) to IDFAF 887 0445 (MSN YD-96) to IDFAF 890 0446 (MSN YD-97) to IDFAF 891 0447 (MSN YD-98) to IDFAF 892 0448 (MSN YD-99) to IDFAF 893 0449 (MSN YD-100) to IDFAF 894 0450 (MSN YD-101) to IDFAF 896 0451 (MSN YD-102) to IDFAF 898