The Lion That Never Roared

CANCELLED: Israel’s Arieh Fighter

Nesher's descendant, Arieh, wasn't built but morphed into what became a prototype, Lavi. (Bukvoed)
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With a new lease on life, the renamed Lavi (another word for “lion”) fighter program, which began in 1980, reached the flying prototype stage six years later. But in 1987, the Israeli government cancelled the delta-winged fighter due to its high cost. Today, only two Lavi prototypes remain. One is displayed at the Israel Air Force museum at Hatzerum Air Base on the western outskirts of Beersheba, and the other is at IAI’s offices at Ben Gurion International Airport, nine miles southeast of Tel Aviv.

Gary Rashba writes about aerospace and defense from Herzliya, Israel. He is the author of Holy Wars: 3000 Years of Battles in the Holy Land, to be released by Casemate Publishing this spring.

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