Israeli Air Force F-16A sidestick that hit Osirak nuclear reactor during Operation Opera up for auction

F-16A’s side-stick controller # 78-0322 is up for auction. The Israeli Air Force veteran was one of six who bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor during Operation Opera in 1981.

F-16A Netz side stick controller # 78-0322 is up for auction. As Alert5 pointed out, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) veteran was one of six who bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor during Operation Opera in 1981.

The object will go on sale approximately five months after the 40th anniversary of Operation Opera.

Undertaken by the IAF on June 7, 1981, Operation Opera saw service fighter bombers attack the Osirak nuclear reactor. The F-16A # 78-0322 was part of the 117th Squadron.

The side stick control handle that was used by the F-16 fighter pilot to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor

Known as the Netz 129 in Israeli service, the F-16A # 78-0322 was flown by Colonel Hagai Katz during Operation Opera.

As reported by Ynet News, the owner of the handle is a senior squadron member who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “The control handle is passed by the squadron personnel, and I’d rather say nothing more because it is a sensitive subject “.

It is not known how the control stick came into the possession of the squadron members. Retiring IAF pilots usually receive a “keepsake” such as a helmet, but not a fighter stick, certainly not one with such a rich history.

The surprising fact is that the sidestick buttons are still functional.

Israeli Air Force F-16A sidestick that hit Osirak nuclear reactor during Operation Opera up for auction
The side stick control handle that was used by the F-16 fighter pilot to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor

Under the lever, the dates 6.6.81 and 12.81 are engraved on it. Indicating the dates when the device was installed and removed from the F-16A.

The fate of the F-16 plane itself is not much different: in early 2021 in fact, it was sold along with three others, to Top Aces, a Canadian company that provides training services to the US Air. Force (USAF).

“Six months ago, someone in Europe sold part of a plane that crashed in the 1950s with the symbol of an Israeli squadron for some $ 60,000,” said the grip owner.

“These types of objects are in great demand around the world, especially among collectors in the United States and avid flight enthusiasts, and this object is of great value because of its historical significance.”

Israeli Air Force F-16A sidestick that hit Osirak nuclear reactor during Operation Opera up for auction

Eyal Ilya of “Pentagon Auctions”, who is in charge of the sale with “Garage Sale Collection”, is about to get his hands on the sale with the starting bid of $ 50,000, although he says that “it is clearly worth a lot more”.

“We already received an offer of $ 100,000, but we declined. This red button that you can see on the stick is one of the few buttons that saved Israel.

The F-16’s side control handle is the primary pilot / aircraft interface for flight, avionics, and weapons systems. The side stick handle provides a variety of single and multi-function switch sets for flight controls, autopilot override, nose gear steering, in-flight refueling, display management, air drop. air-to-ground weapons and a two-stage trigger for air-to-air release of weapons.

Photo credit: Ynet News and Weapons and Warfare

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