Washington (Aug. 26)
A team of Israeli experts took a nine-hour flight aboard an
AWACS reconnaissance plane on Monday, it was confirmed yesterday by the Pentagon which told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “the flight occurred on Aug. 24 from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. It flew to the vicinity of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and then back again to Tinker Air Force base. The flight was conducted to acquaint Israeli technical and military experts with the capabilities and limitations of the E3A Air Defense Surveillance Aircraft.”
The flight followed a briefing at the Pentagon last Friday for the five members of the Israeli team. Observers said the flight was clearly an attempt by the Reagan Administration to convince Israel that the proposed sale to Saudi Arabia of five of the AWACS, if approved by both Houses of Congress in October, will not threaten Israel’s security.
However, the flight reportedly impressed the Israelis more than ever about the spy plane’s capabilities. A spokesman for the Israel Embassy said Israel’s opposition to the proposed sale had not changed. The Israeli team will report to Israel’s government on the performance of the plane.