The first product of the Societe des Avions Marcel Dassault, the Ouragan (hurricane) flew for the first time on February 28th 1949. A simple but highly effective design, 350 Ouragans were built for the French air force and 194 for the Indian air force where the type was known as the Toofani.
Israel begun arming itself with jet fighters when the air forces of Israel's Arab neighbors begun operating such aircraft. The first jet to enter service with the IAF was the Gloster Meteor in 1953, but Israel kept looking for more advanced types to add to its inventory. Various types were evaluated and attempts were made to procure such types as the F-86 Sabre or F-84F Thunderstreak, but all of these fell through, usually following Arab political intervention. The only country willing to sell fighters to Israel was France, and on July 15th 1954 a deal was signed to supply Israel with 15 Dassault Mystere IIs and 15 Mystere IVAs. This deal was soon cancelled after disappointment was sounded over the Mystere II's poor performance and Israel opted to purchase the Mystere IVA alone. The Mystere IVA, however, was not yet ready to enter service with the IAF, and faced with the problem of finding a stopgap until the IVA was available, another Dassault design was selected, the Ouragan. 12 examples were purchased, enough to equip a single squadron.
Delievery of the Ouragans begun on October 6th 1955, when the first aircraft landed in Hazor AFB, joining the newly formed 113th squadron. Middle East tensions were increasing at the time, with Arab nationality on the rise and the break between Egypt and Britain exasperating cold war tensions. At the end of September 1955 a huge weapons deal between Egypt and Czechoslovakia was anounced, a deal which included the delivery to Egypt of a hundred MiG-15 and MiG-17 jet fighters and 50 Ilyushin Il-28 bombers. Faced with the alarming prospect of facing a vastly superior adversary, the IAF purchased two dozen more Ouragans on November 4th 1955. The increasing Middle East tensions had helped to tighten relations between France and Israel and the aircraft were supplied within the month, on November 24th, out of French air force stocks.
Upon their arrival, the Ouragans replaced the Meteors as Israel's most advanced fighters, although they would play this role only for a few months, until the arrival of the Mystere IVAs in April 1956. On April 12th two Ouragans were scrambled to intercept two Egyptian De-Havilland Vampires which had penetrated Israeli air space. Scoring the world's first Ouragan kill, one of the Vampires was shot down.
Only a single Ouragan squadron equipped with 22 aircraft was operational at the outbreak of Operation "Kadesh", Israel's part in the 1956 Suez Crisis. The plans drawn up by the IAF before the crisis had called for the Ouragans to attack air fields in the Sinai in order to destroy as many Arab aircraft on the ground as possible. These plans were changed however, once fighting broke out on October 29th. The Ouragan squadron's first mission was to escort 16 C-47s about to paradrop an Israeli battalion over the Mitla Pass, an importat strategic point in the Sinai. Throughout the war the Ouragans flew numerous missions against Egyptian ground targets, destroying dozens of enemy vehicles using 250kg bombs, napalm, air-to-ground rockets and their four 20mm cannons. On the operation's second day they flew thirty sorties over the Mitla Pass alone, besides other missions flown all over the Sinai. On October 31st six Ouragans on a ground attack mission were engaged by 8 MiG-15s. No aircraft were shot down but one was hit and returned safely to its base while another had to make a wheels-up landing after running out of fuel. In another engagement with MiG-15s, Ouragans managed to hit another MiG, earning a probable kill.
Shark-teeth Dassault Ouragan at the IAF Museum
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