AH1 Cobra Rescue - June 9-10, 1999

While it was formed especially to rescue down aircrews, Unit 669 had performed only one such operation. In the night of June 9, 1999, an Egoz team was deep inside South Lebanon conducting a counter guerrilla mission. The team encountered heavy resistance, including its team leader killed. Couple of AH1 Cobra gunship were then sent to assist the ground force. During the fierce combat one of the Cobras sustained a severe hit in its tail and was forced to crash land in the area.

A UH60 Blackhawk, which was on alert near the Israeli-Lebanese border, was sent for the rescue with a Unit 699 team on board. On arrival, the two Cobra crew members were hoisted to safety in a complex rescue, which lasted more then 40 minutes.

Since the Cobra was deep behind enemy lines and contained sensitive equipment and weaponry, PALSAR Tzanhanim  team was sent in to guard it until it can be taken back to Israeli soil. In the following night a CH53 helicopter arrived to the area with more Unit 699 personnel and an explosives expert from YAHALOM. The Cobra was then hoisted by the CH53 and flown back to Israeli territory.

The Cobra that was shot down during the combat (note the tail hit). Till this day, this incident is the only case in which Unit 669 actually fulfilled its role of extracting aircrews out of arms way.

Unit 669 operators searching for the Cobra parts during the operation (Photo: IAF ).

Operations Guide