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 â€˜Red Airâ€™ contractor.
Speaking toÂ Janeâ€™sÂ 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 IAIâ€™s LAHAV Division, Benjamin Cohen, explained, â€œColombia 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 upgradedâ€.
FAC Kfir aircraft participated in the US Air Forceâ€™s â€˜Red Flagâ€™ exercise in 2012, since when they have received the upgrades. â€œThe newly modernised aircraft are now ready for the next â€˜Red Flagâ€™ to be held between February and March,â€ Cohen said, adding, â€œPreviously they have shown a very good performance, and I hope that this time they will do even better.â€ 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. â€œAs I understand it they will now continue with them, or why else upgrade them?