Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Defense Tech reports that several F-16 engines weighing 3,700 pounds each have been stolen from a base in a central part of the country as Israeli officials played down the loss saying the engines were old or retired and likely stolen for scrap. US security and aviation experts contacted were not so dismissive of the missing engines and said that some countries would see value in having them and taking them apart. “They’re still more modern than anything in the Iranian air force inventory, and they would even be helpful to China in their jet engine development,” says Richard Aboulafia noting that modern technology engine design remains “a black art” and that competitors would love the opportunity to study them. This is not the first time jet engines have gone missing. In June 2011, Israel reported the loss of eight F-15 and F-16 fighter engines from a base at Tel Nof near Jerusalem when investigators found the engines had been taken away on large trucks, prompting speculation that the thieves had help from inside the base. In 2009, two F-5 engines were stolen from an airbase in Malaysia, tracked to Argentina and ultimately located in Uruguay."