An Israeli Air Force F-16 has crashed while attempting to land at Ramon Airbase in southern Israel, killing the pilot.
A navigator who was also in the aircraft successfully ejects and escapes the incident unharmed.
The F-16I jet was returning from a mission in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli Air Force struck three Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, after a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the Israeli border city of Sderot.
The pilot who was killed was identified as Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov, 34, who recently assumed the position of squadron deputy commander.
The F-16I is a two-seat variant of the Block 52 developed for the Israel. An initial “Peace Marble V” contract was signed in January 2000 with a follow-on contract signed December 2001, for a total procurement of 102 aircraft.
The F-16I, which is called Sufa by the IDF, first flew on the 23rd of December 2003, and deliveries to the IDF/AF began in February 2004. The F-16I has an estimated unit cost of approximately $70 million.
One major deviation of the F-16I from the Block 52 is that approximately 50% of the avionics were replaced by Israeli-developed avionics, such as 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 sight, head-up display, mission and presentation computers, and digital map display.