This year, the 190th (“Magic Touch”) Squadron is celebrating 40 years since its establishment. The “Magic Touch” Squadron was founded in 1980 at Palmachim AFB as the second combat helicopter squadron in the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and operated the McDonnell Douglas MD 500 Defender helicopters. Throughout the years, the squadron moved to Ramat David AFB due to the MD 500 Defender’s difficulty functioning in hot weather conditions. In 1994, senior members of the IAF decided to change the Fighter Helicopter Division and to open an advanced AH-64 Apache squadron. The AH-64 Apache was far superior to the MD 500 Defender – in its ability to fly for hours at a time and carry advanced munitions. As a result, and to maintain a balanced division, they decided to close the 190th squadron.
In 1995, the 190th Squadron was re-opened at the southern Ramon AFB, near the town of Mitzpe Ramon. The new and improved 190th Squadron began its journey as a small squadron with a small number of aircraft and crewmembers, most of whom transferred from the 113th (“Hornet”) squadron at Ramon AFB. Despite the reopening of the squadron in a different base and the integration of a new flight platform, the previous aircrew members, who piloted the MD 500 Defender helicopter, returned to the squadron and learned to fly the AH-64 Apache Longbow. The 190th Squadron was the IAF’s second Apache squadron. It relied heavily on the 113th Squadron, which integrated the helicopter and went on to operate the AH-64 Apache Longbow Attack Helicopter.
Since its re-establishment in Ramon AFB 25 years ago, the squadron experienced significant changes. The first of which is changing its operational focus. The squadron’s designation and missions changed as well – in the past, the squadron executed operations deep in enemy territory. Today, it focuses on assisting IDF ground forces and protecting Israel’s borders. Additionally, the helicopter’s systems were updated. The squadron participated in many wars and operations throughout its years of service. The 190th Squadron defend Israel’s borders and assist IDF regiments in the field, but still take part in special operations. The Middle East is constantly changing, the Apache Longbow can provide efficient and quick solutions to any problem.