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The Military Technology

F-16 Engines Stolen From Israeli Air Base 346

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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  • Penultimate... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:11PM (#42237643)

    Seriously, this is Israel, the penultimate security state.

    Which state is, therefore, the ultimate security state? Seriously, penultimate [] doesn't mean "ultimate, except with three extra prefix letters of awesome emphasis!", it means "next to last".

  • Re:Prime suspects (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bomazi ( 1875554 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:26PM (#42237727)

    penultimate: that word doesn't mean what you think it does.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:01PM (#42237949)

    They are not "universally unpopular" they are just unpopular with sick, evil, twisted, freaks like NAZIs, skinheads, and the Muslim Brotherhood (who were allied with Hitler in WWII). Not all Muslims hate Jews (not all Muslims are warped and evil) ... but the truly evil fringe of Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood and they and their associated groups like Hamas and Hezbollah are currently an the ascendancy in the region. The Brotherhood does what every evil leader/government/agitator does... gain support of the local population by pointing at some "other" or "outsider" person/people as the party responsible for all the failings of a society. They tell the Muslim world that all their problems are not because they are have a backward ideology, corrupt leaders, dysfunctional courts, and they severely oppress half of their own population (women and girls) ... oh, no... ALL their problems are because there is a tiny little country with JEWS in it...

  • Re:Prime suspects (Score:5, Informative)

    by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <EnsilZah AT Gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:27PM (#42238119)

    You know, Israel actually tried [] getting into the fighter-aircraft business once.
    And I hear it was a pretty good plane, but in the end the US and Israel came to a mutual agreement that's it would be for the best if Israel didn't export a competitor to the F-16 and Israel continued getting subsidized planed from the US.
    So I doubt Israel would want to get into the fighter-aircraft business now, and anyway, Israel is doing pretty well on the UAV side of things.

  • by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:39PM (#42238187)
    Contrary to what you'd think from what politicians say, Israel is not [] a treaty [] ally [].
  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:39PM (#42238619)
    don't care. Let them fend for themselves. Maybe if everyone in the middle east has to use the same sticks and stones to kill each other they would think twice.
  • Mod me "Obvious" (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:53PM (#42238699)


  • Re:Stolen to order (Score:5, Informative)

    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:18PM (#42238833) Homepage

    If we're so worried about China getting our jet engine tech (and we probably should be), then why is GE allowed to be in a joint Chinese venture to make engines?

    GE has a long history of doing this. They licensed their steam turbines to Toshiba as early as the 1970's (and still maintain a joint venture with them). Then they licensed them to Hitachi. Recently, they have been playing the game with Doosan (Korean multinational).

    I wouldn't worry too much about stealing gas turbine technology though. This is basically a mature technology now with only incremental improvements every couple years. If you wanted to play the gas turbine game, stealing an engine or 5 would help, but it would be cheaper and less risky to just send people to the various conferences on such technologies throughout the year. In this industry, the secret design is important, but the manufacturing capability and production engineering is more important. If you just steal an engine you still have a long way to go.

    If you were starting a gas turbine program from scratch, you would need a big pile of money (500 million would probably do it), some engineers skilled in thermodynamics, separate engineers skilled in materials, production engineers, etc. You can have GE, Siemens, Alstom, and Rolls Royce's engineers defect to you if you want it bad enough (money and benefits talk loudly in this industry). Then you need to locate a supplier of exotic alloys and large forgings (not as difficult as it sounds), buy some 5 axis CNC machines for airfoils and some larger vertical tables and lathes for the rotors and casings. Get yourself some machinists and millwrights and you're in business. This is out of reach of a small or medium size company, but a Fortune 500 company or medium-size government could do it if they wanted it badly enough.

  • Re:Stolen to order (Score:5, Informative)

    by wmac1 ( 2478314 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:43PM (#42238965)

    - Iran does not have F-16 or use airplanes that use them.

    - Iran has access to new Russian jet engines (RD-33 and many other types), American engines (TF-30 turbofan, J79 and J85 turbojets etc.) and french Snecma 9R-50. Also according Jane's defense a Venezuelan F-16 was transferred to Iran for research. They already have 2 F16-A engines in hand.

    - Iran produces localized J-85 engines (for their F5 derived Saeghe fighters) and possibly limited number of TF-30 (for their 30 years old but still operational! fleet). They would most probably consider one of those engines for industrial production (as they have 40-45 years of experience with them).

    This is a "partial" list of engines available to Iran :

    J85 14kN
    Snecma Atar 42kN
    Tumansky R-195 (su-25) 44kN
    J79 50kN
    AL-21F (su-24) 75kN
    Khatchaturov R-35,R-29 (Mig23,27) 83kN

    RD33 50kN
    TF30 65kN

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine