Tel Nof Israeli Air Force Base
בסיס חיל-האוויר תל נוף
|Operator||Israeli Air Force|
|Elevation AMSL||193 ft / 59 m|
Tel Nof Israeli Air Force (Hebrew: בָּסִיס חֵיל-הַאֲוִויר תֵּל נוֹף) (ICAO: LLEK), also known as Air Force Base 8, is one of three principal airbases of the Israeli Air Force. It is located near Rehovot, Israel.
Tel Nof houses several fighter, helicopter, and airlift squadrons. Also located at the base are several special units of the Israel Defense Forces, including Unit 669 (airborne combat search and rescue) and the paratroopers training centre.
Tel Nof was founded in July 1939 during the British Mandate as RAF Aqir and served as the main Royal Air Force station in Palestine. From the 1948 Arab-Israeli War until 1950 it was known as Ekron Airfield.
On 18 October 2011, Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been held captive by Hamas in Gaza for over five years and four months, returned to Israel via Tel Nof as part of a deal to exchange Shalit for 1,027 prisoners.
Tel Nof airbase is located a few miles from the Sdot Micha Airbase complex, where nuclear weapons for its missions are reportedly stored. Just to the south of the Zachariah Jericho 2 training pad are several hardened bunkers that house nuclear gravity bombs for aircraft at the Tel Nof air base a few kilometers to the northwest (see Nuclear weapons and Israel).
Operational units of the Royal Air Force stationed at RAF Aqir from 1941 to 1948.
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