On October 26th, 1969 the IAF celebrated: the first of the CH-53 “Sea Stallion” heavy-lift transport helicopters officially drafted and changed the face of the IAF. These helicopters, named Yas’ur in Hebrew, which have known brilliant successes and painful losses, are capable of carrying dozens of troops and bringing them to the combat zone, loading stretchers from the battlefield and even take part in electronic warfare mission operations.
Aircrews from the “Leaders of the Night” and “Nocturnal Birds” squadrons at the Tel Nof airbase who operate the big helicopter, say it is not a normal aircraft. “We believe that Yas’ur is 28.87 meters of a ‘machine with a soul that is capable of feeling’ its pilot”, explains Major (res.) N’ from the “Nocturnal Birds” squadron. “It’s a helicopter that is capable of giving more than it is intended to give, when needed”.
Many of the special missions that the Yas’ur has executed will remain unknown for years to come, but some are allowed to be published.
On December 25th, 1969, a mere few weeks after joining the IAF, three CH-53 helicopters took part in Operation “Rooster 53”, during which a Soviet radar station brought from Egypt to Israel.In Operation “Dessert”, which was conducted during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the helicopters brought 625 paratroops to the peaks of Mt. Hermon in broad daylight during a low-altitude flight in a threatened area and in May of 1994, they brought Special Forces deep into Lebanon in order to kidnap Mustafa Dirani, the Hezbollah operator who held Ron Arad, the IAF weapon system officer. […]