The Israeli Airforce on Wednesday (2 July) took delivery of four new American-built F-16 fighters.
GV F-16s flying in formation over Israel. (2 SHOTS)
GV Crowd at airport.
GV F-16 lands at airport as crowd applaud (English language announcement at 22FT - "Ladies and gentlemen the first F-16 touchdown in Israel" - ends at 24FT).
GV F-16s taxiing on runway. (2 SHOTS)
CU Israeli servicemen taking photograph.
GV Two F-16s taxiing to halt. (4 SHOTS)
GV Aircraft with pilot canopy open.
GV Deputy Prime Minister of Israel Yigael Yadin speaking in English with F-16 in background.
SV Former Israeli Defence Minister Ezer Weizman inspecting planes and climbing into cockpit. (3 SHOTS)
YADIN:"This is basically a day of joy I am not prepared to be met with misunderstanding by the American ambassador (INDISTINCT) and I cannot even refer to the fact that today while you are renewing our negotiations with the Egyptians in Washington the United States is giving weapons to some of our neighbours who are against the very peace which we are negotiating. Let me repeat, today is a day of joy, a day of thanks and we can only thank the United States or the President of the United States and all concerned on this great day."
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Background: The Israeli Airforce on Wednesday (2 July) took delivery of four new American-built F-16 fighters. The fighters were the first of a consignment of seventy five. Six air forces now have the planes and under a new arms agreement Egypt is also due to receive several F-16s.
SYNOPSIS: The first four F-16s to be delivered flew non-stop from the United States to Israel. They are part of a consignment of seventy-five fighters the Israeli Government has ordered.
Their landings at an airfield in northern Israel were watched by senior army and airforce officers, members of Parliament and several hundred invited guests. The first plane to touch down was greeted with applause.
The American ambassador to Israel, Samuel Lewis said there had been some misunderstanding at times between Israel and the United States but the F-16 delivery was evidence of underlying friendship and American support.
The Israelis hope the F-16, along with the more sophisticated F-15 which they have been flying since 1976, will help them counter some of their neighbouring and largely Soviet-equipped air forces. The remaining seventy one planes are due to arrive over the next fifteen months. The Belgian, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and American air forces now fly it and the Australian, Canadian and Spanish air forces are also buying the jets. The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Yigael Yadin welcomed the delivery but attacked the United States for selling weapons to Israel's enemies.
With the speeches over the man who originally ordered the F-16s, former Israeli Defence Minister Ezer Weizman, climbed into the cockpit of one of the fighters for an inspection. The F-16 has a top speed of more than twice the speed of sound and can fly well over two thousand miles without refuelling.