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F-16 Engines Stolen From Israeli Air Base 346

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-craigslist dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Defense Tech reports that several F-16 engines weighing 3,700 pounds each have been stolen from a base in a central part of the country. Israeli officials played down the loss, saying the engines were old or retired and likely stolen for scrap. U.S. security and aviation experts contacted were not so dismissive of the missing engines and said that some countries would see value in having them and taking them apart. 'They're still more modern than anything in the Iranian air force inventory, and they would even be helpful to China in their jet engine development,' says Richard Aboulafia, noting that modern technology engine design remains 'a black art' and that competitors would love the opportunity to study them. This is not the first time jet engines have gone missing. In June 2011, Israel reported the loss of eight F-15 and F-16 fighter engines from a base at Tel Nof near Jerusalem when investigators found the engines had been taken away on large trucks, prompting speculation that the thieves had help from inside the base. In 2009, two F-5 engines were stolen from an airbase in Malaysia, tracked to Argentina and ultimately located in Uruguay."
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F-16 Engines Stolen From Israeli Air Base

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  • by pollarda (632730) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:09PM (#42237243)
    I admit, I have the engines. I hooked them up to my Delorean and the Mr. Fusion I've been keeping in my garage.
    • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:17PM (#42237283)
      Just a reminder, der national Sicherheitsstaat has no sense of humor. It also wants to know why you've been experimenting with fusion and stainless steel (armored?) cars. Expect a visit from black SUVs in your near future.

      Sorry I had to inform you of all this. It's my responsibility and my burden. Heavy is the head that wears the tinfoil hat.

  • Early Lead (Score:5, Funny)

    by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:10PM (#42237245)
    The Israeli government have discounted earlier reports of Iranian involvement, and are now looking for a Mr. Wile E. Coyote.
  • Again. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rex.clts (2791393) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:11PM (#42237253)
    And this is why we shouldn't be giving the Israelis our military technology.
    • Maybe you should look at the map [wikipedia.org] of operators. We've sold them to half the world at this point, and for good reason: the F16 is a quality plane.

    • please clarify (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why's that? Because that technology might make it to a country like Iran? ummm... We have given a HUGE amount of high-tech weaponry (including jets) to Egypt over the years and THAT place is now run by the Muslim Brotherhood which has begun cozying-up to some of the worst governments on Earth (including Iran). Israel is not the only country to let this happen... during the cold war, a Japanese firm intentionally transferred American nuclear submarine propeller technology directly to Russia, which resulted i

      • Re:please clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:10PM (#42238003)

        I'm not Jewish

        But you play an Israeli talking head on the Internets. So I'm guessing Republican?

        It's always hilarious to see Israel fanboys equate 'The United States should not be emptying our treasury on behalf of Israel' into 'ZOMG ANTI-SEMITISM!'

        Israel has nuclear weapons. Israel has a strong military. Israel has a damned good number of engineering and science folks, to boot.

        The fact is, citizens of the US should not be paying Israel's way. That's it. As for the rest - whatever. Personally, I don't give a damn if Israel launches a war of aggression and takes the whole of the Middle East. At least it'd stop our politicians from fucking about with puppet administrations. That's worked out so well for us in Iraq and Iran, after all.

      • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:27PM (#42238881)
        In 2000 there was a US Senate inquiry into how a classified targeting system in tanks was given to Israel, stolen by some criminals there, sold to China, then onsold to Iran. The government in Israel wasn't too happy about that stuff ending up in Iran either (especially since Iran gives away their obsolete rockets to people that keep shooting them at Israel).
        So it's not really about Israel, but instead some crooks that just happen to live there.
      • by caseih (160668)

        Wow. Where to start with that diatribe. While I agree with much of what you say about what has happened in Egypt, accusing this person of being anti-Semitic is pretty darn close to invoking Godwin's law, and highly disingenuous.

        Israel, the nation-state, definitely has the whole world in a nice spot. We can't criticize what they are doing, and the fact that they are deliberately inciting the Palestinian people with their actions, lest we be accused if being a Jew-hater or an anti-Semite. I greatly admire

      • Re:please clarify (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pitchpipe (708843) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:01AM (#42239361)

        OR are you just using this incident to disguise a personal predisposition for Jew-hating?

        We need to stop conflating not wanting the US to be Israel's bitch with Jew-hating. They are not the same thing. Maybe if we (the US) started making our commitment to their security contingent upon them making peace, they might start moving in that direction. Right now they act like they can do whatever they want, and we will still back them no matter what. This is actually the case, and it doesn't make sense.

        BTW, all forms of racism are born of ignorance, so don't think that I'm Jew hating. The world would be a lot worse off if we didn't have them contributing to our collective well being. I just want a rational US policy when it comes to Israel.

        • by Quila (201335)

          It's kind of hard to move in the direction of peace when the other side has as its main goal the goal destruction of your country. Any time the Jews take one step, the other side wants another and another and another, without themselves giving up anything except a temporary (it's always temporary) halt to attacks on Jewish civilians.

          The Jews living in Israel under their own laws is offensive to most of the Muslims in the area. The country MUST become Muslim, the Jews killed, expelled (as they were from most

    • by dudpixel (1429789)

      Who says it's all one way?

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      You do realize they have some better technology than WE DO in those F-16s of theirs ... RIGHT?

      Do you have any idea how much Israeli tech we buy and put in our military equipment? Clearly you don't.

  • A lot easier and cheaper to do R&D with a working prototype in hand. Big problem for the US. You can always have the best equipment, but you're also always helping your enemies to catch up.

    • by icebike (68054) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:42PM (#42237441)

      A lot easier and cheaper to do R&D with a working prototype in hand.

      And it wouldn't be the first time Israel disappeared some foreign manufactured equipment to get it "off the books" only to come up with some derivative internal products later. In fact, they have concentrated on making major components [globes.co.il] for foreign purchased platforms for years, rather than building new platforms from scratch. Most of their tech is derivative work.

      It seems just as likely, given Israel's apparent lack of concern over these thefts, that they know exactly where these engines are.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Yes you had the Mirage 5 history with the plans and parts been in the right place at the right time.
        You have the history of the Phalcon advanced airborne early-warning (AEW at 250 miles?) radar system and China.
        Small arms drift off bases around the world every year, getting out with an engine with the surrounding safe transport container/sled structure- not so easy.
    • by mjwx (966435) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:52PM (#42237877)

      A lot easier and cheaper to do R&D with a working prototype in hand. Big problem for the US. You can always have the best equipment, but you're also always helping your enemies to catch up.

      Why is everyone assuming they are stealing this technolgoy to copy it?

      The F15 and F16 engines are now 20 years old. You can buy the same level of technology from Russia or India these days. Even China has better engines based on Russian designs.

      Occams Razor says that these engines are worth more as replacements for older F15/16's that are owned by countries that cant get new engines/spares from the US or cant afford them (Iran is far from the only suspect here).

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        'Better'?

        F16's have been upgraded you realize, right? They haven't been using the original design in 30 years. There are at least 4 different engines used in the aircraft that I'm aware of, which means probably more.

  • by jittles (1613415) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:01PM (#42237575)

    Dear Editors:

    Thank you for putting a WikiLeaks link in the story summary. I know I could have hovered over it with the mouse cursor and seen where it linked to, but I was expecting an actual news story and not WikiLeaks. You do realize that anyone who works in the Defense Industry, military, or other US Government contracting positions could lose their job over clicking that, right? It's not likely that they would be "caught" so to speak, but I thought this was a news aggregator, and would, you know, have links to the news. Thankfully I am no longer in the defense industry, and do not have to worry about losing my job.

    For those of you who are about to freak out on the US Government's rules realize this: When you do work in certain areas you agree to not seek out information that is covered by a "Need to Know." The US Government has specifically said that those who work in sensitive areas are not to visit WikiLeaks, and have warned all employees and contractors. The reason is pretty simple. If you explicitly agree not to do something as a condition of employment, and you do it anyway, then you probably aren't a very trustworthy person. And anyway, I think that a proper news story would have been more informative and read better than a diplomatic cable, or whatever that document was.

    • You won't lose your job over clicking a Wikileaks link. More than half the traffic to Wikileaks is from .gov or .mil domains anyway.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by jagapen (11417)

      And just how does your choice to work for dangerous, anti-American thugs translate into the rest of the world's responsibility to edit itself?

    • by qbzzt (11136)

      You do realize that anyone who works in the Defense Industry, military, or other US Government contracting positions could lose their job over clicking that, right?

      Actually, they probably didn't. This is not a well known fact, and considering all of the US's enemies already have that information, it is not obvious to people who don't have a clearance that looking at it would be a problem.

    • by Isaac Remuant (1891806) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:48PM (#42237849)

      I think that this reflects a problem on those organizations. Not Slashdot.

      My advice, come up with a wikileaks blocker and use it. Why deprive ANYONE else of a link just because?

      Another thing. If you're at work, why browse slashdot at work? :P If you're at home, why is it that your employers control what you can or can not read in your house? It's public info.

    • by PNutts (199112)

      There's probably also a lot of other types of links that can get you fired. It's your responsibility, not the editors.

    • For those of you who are about to freak out on the US Government's rules realize this: When you do work in certain areas you agree to not seek out information that is covered by a "Need to Know."

      I wasn't about to freak out about the US Government's rules, but I was about to freak out over your complaint on the summary.

      Those rules apply to those of you who have agreed to them as a condition to the work you do. It does not apply to the rest of the population. Considering I would imagine the majority of people frequenting slashdot do not share those restrictions, it makes no sense to sensor the site as you propose.

      There's absolutely nothing wrong with the government requiring that people working in

      • by jittles (1613415)
        This is supposed to be a news site, and I don't see how a WikiLeaks link is news. They normally comment when a link may be sketchy for work. But how many people, when they see a link that say: "two F-5 engines were stolen from an airbase in Malaysia" think they are going to go to anything but a news site? I'm not saying that I couldn't have checked the link, I had said in my OP that I should have checked the link. I just don't think they addressed the link appropriately. I don't believe that WikiLeaks
    • by sootman (158191)

      Funny -- usually people bitch at Slashdot for linking to crappy blogs instead of the original source.

      • by jittles (1613415)
        Except that it wasn't the original source. The original source was the government of Malaysia, and they had posted news stories about it for a great deal of time following the theft. Even if those diplomatic cables were the original source, WikiLeaks is not. Anyway, my point is that it should have been obvious it was a WikiLeaks link and not disguised as a news story. I know the link was visible, but the linked text implied a news story.
    • why are you accessing slashdot from a WORK COMPUTER, then, smart guy? if you worry about your job, don't do recreation things (like slashdot) from what you say are sensitive systems!

      (government geniuses, at work. gotta tell them every last thing or they won't figure out much on their own)

      • by jittles (1613415)
        I'm not accessing slashdot from a work computer, or a government computer or any hardware that I do not own. I lease the network connection as well. As I said, I no longer do defense contracting. However, DSS (Defense Security Service) made an effort of going around to contractors to tell them that accessing WikiLeaks could be grounds for losing your clearance. It doesn't matter where you look at WikiLeaks, whether it as at work, at home or abroad. People in these positions have promised the government
    • by dcollins (135727)

      "The US Government has specifically said that those who work in sensitive areas are not to visit WikiLeaks, and have warned all employees and contractors. The reason is pretty simple. If you explicitly agree not to do something as a condition of employment, and you do it anyway, then you probably aren't a very trustworthy person."

      So the simple reason is that it's a purely arbitrary test to see if you follow nonsensical rules?

      • by jittles (1613415)
        No, the reason you get into trouble is simple. You are violating the rules. The reason for the rule is pretty simple, too. You may not understand the full implications of the things you are working on. If you have access to external information, it could be used to create new pieces of information that are classified and that you do not need to know. The more information you know, the easier it is to accidentally let something slip when you should not. So the point is to prevent employees from trying
  • I think the most likely explanation is that somebody was paid a big fat bribe to ship the engines to a country who wanted them: China, Russia, Iran, India (?), etc.
  • Endemic Corruption (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MarkvW (1037596)

    How your American tax dollars are spent by Israel.

    • Endemic Corruption - How your American tax dollars are spent by Israel.

      Fascinating. And you know this how?

      You're assuming that those jets were not ones the Israelis purchased [armscontrol.org]? Do you have any grounds for that?

      Were these jet engines stolen at an American Air Force base due to "endemic corruption," or the activity of simple thieves?
      HAFB THIEVES CANNOT SET THE VALUE OF 3 STOLEN JET ENGINES, SAYS JUDGE [deseretnews.com]

      Do you have equal concerns about Venezuela and Iran [theaviationist.com]? Or just the Jewish state?

      Do you think Israel is less corrupt, as corrupt, or more corrupt than Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, and

  • by v1 (525388) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:42PM (#42238219) Homepage Journal

    Israeli officials played down the loss, saying the engines were old or retired and likely stolen for scrap.

    hmmm...

    In 2009, two F-5 engines were stolen from an airbase in Malaysia, tracked to Argentina and ultimately located in Uruguay.

    Wow those scrappers sure can go to great lengths to fence their scrap!

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:14PM (#42238807)

    ... next summer's SeaFair hydro races with renewed interest.

  • 'They're still more modern than anything in the Iranian air force inventory, and they would even be helpful to China in their jet engine development

    No, they arent [wikipedia.org] the mig 29 is a newer and arguably better aircraft than the F16 could ever hope to be. and if that isnt 'modern' enough, the SU 30's bolstering the Iranian air force sport avionics alone that make the F16 look like a model T.
    chinas current fleet [wikipedia.org] of J series aircraft are powered by the Saturn AL-31 or domestically produced clones with nothing except the turboblades imported. it has 27,600lbs of thrust, compared to the emaciated 17,600lbs of thrust for the pratt and whitney powering the

  • yeah lets give more shit to Israel, they are such a great friend - if they aren't stealing our technology outright they are either losing it or selling it off.
  • They have a history of funneling our technology to the highest bidder. My only doubt is usually after they do it they tell our politicians to fuck off or AIPAC will visit your opponent's campaign office next election.

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