|Released:||1980 | Initial release – new tool|
The real helicopter
|Type||Light liaison, reconnaissance and training helicopter|
|Dimensions||Rotor span: 10.16 m, Length: 9.5 m, Height: 2.91 m|
|Performance||Max. speed: 207 kph, Ceiling: 6,100 kph, Range: 582 km|
|Weight||Empty: 638 kg ,Max. weight: 1,361 kg|
|Engine||Allison 250 engine rated at 317 hp|
A helicopter used for transport, observation and instruction. The Israeli Air Force has been using several dozen light Jet Ranger (Saifan) helicopters since 1971.
The Jet Rangers were at first used side by side with the Alouette IIs, and replaced them over time. The Jet Ranger is one of the world’s most widely used light helicopters, whether in civilian, military or police roles.
The Six Day War proved the importance of light helicopters for carrying top officers to and from the battlefield, for liaison and for medevac. The War of Attrition saw the need for light helicopters grow further: they were employed in patrols along the borders and for chasing after terrorist infiltrators in the Jordan Valley.
The Alouettes had been the IAF’s helicopter of choice for these missions, but there simply were not enough of them. The IAF considered several light helicopters as options, including the Hughes OH-6A, the German Bo-105, the Fairchild Hiller FH-1100, besides the Bell-206 Jet Ranger.
The Ranger was chosen for its higher speed, longer range and greater comfort. The US Army’s decision to purchase it as a patrol helicopter, and its successful entry into the civilian market in Israel in 1970, made the choice even more certain. The first Jet Rangers reached the IAF in July of 1971.
After the Yom Kippur War, with the enlargement of the US military aid to Israel, many additional Saifan Bell-206s were purchased. In May of 1984, the IAF purchased several units of the longer version of the Bell-206 – the ‘Long Ranger’ – nicknamed Saifanit in the IAF.
The Saifanit carries more passengers and can handle a heavier cargo. The Bell-206s took part in operations in the Yom Kippur War and the Peace for the Galilee campaign. They were employed in transporting commanders, observation and patrol.