IAI outlines Kfir developments for Sri Lanka, Colombia, ATAC

IAI outlines Kfir developments for Sri Lanka, Colombia, ATAC

SAM Report,
A Colombian air force technician sits on the canard of a Kfir during a ‘Red Flag’ exercise in 2012. Photo: US Air Force

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has noted a number of developments for its Kfir fighter, including the conclusion of an upgrade programme for Colombia, plans to upgrade and return to service aircraft for Sri Lanka, and ongoing efforts to sell additional aircraft to a US ‘Red Air’ contractor.

Speaking to Jane’s on 12 December, a senior IAI official said that the last of 22 upgraded Block 60 Kfirs was being returned to the Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Colombiana: FAC) on the same day, while the company is in talks with the Sri Lankan government to upgrade and return to service its five grounded Kfir fighters. Further to these two efforts, IAI is also continuing discussions with Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) about adding to its Kfir fleet with aircraft previously earmarked for Argentina.

With regard to the Colombian upgrade, the president and general manager of IAI’s LAHAV Division, Benjamin Cohen, explained, “Colombia is receiving today the last of 22 Block 60 Kfirs that have been upgraded with new 4.5 Generation avionics. This gives the aircraft a very high capability that is comparable to the F-16 Block 52. This work was done in Colombia, and we have also delivered two new upgraded”.

FAC Kfir aircraft participated in the US Air Force’s ‘Red Flag’ exercise in 2012, since when they have received the upgrades. “The newly modernised aircraft are now ready for the next ‘Red Flag’ to be held between February and March,” Cohen said, adding, “Previously they have shown a very good performance, and I hope that this time they will do even better.” While the FAC said in 2013 that it was looking for a replacement for the Kfir, Cohen feels that this plan is no longer being pursued. “As I understand it they will now continue with them, or why else upgrade them?