A series of malfunctions led the Israel Air Force over the weekend to suspend midair refueling exercises as well as training flights for its fleet of older-model F-16s.
On Friday, during a routine midair training flight, the hose disconnected from an F-16I - the IAF's most-advanced combat aircraft - causing light damage. The IAF decided to suspend the exercise and to land both the F-16 and the Boeing 707 refueling tanker.
Midair refueling is considered a critical capability for the IAF as it faces long-range missions, including a possible strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
The midair refueling malfunction came after IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel decided earlier in July to ground the force's fleet of F-16 C/Ds, known as Barak in the military.