Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has made entered into an agreement with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense to upgrade that country’s Kfir aircraft. The contract is worth $50 million. The deal includes replacing the aircraft’s basic avionics with the advanced 4+ generation fighter aircraft avionics in order to one day integrate advanced radar, sensors, communication systems, and new helmets. The upgrade process will also include transfer of knowledge and skills for refurbishment to Sri Lankan Air Force personnel. The upgrades will be completed in cooperation with Sri Lanka’s Air Force and in their local facilities.
The Kfir fighter jet was developed in Israel and first went into production back in the 1970s. The Kfir is an Israeli all-weather multirole combat aircraft based on the French Dassault Mirage 5, with Israeli avionics and an Israeli-built version of the General Electric J79 turbojet engine. Kfir is Hebrew for “Lion Cub.”
After the Israel Air Force retired its KFIR aircraft fleet, IAI implemented major upgrades to significantly enhance the aircraft’s operational performance, enabling it to provide mission performance comparable with today’s advanced fighter aircraft. The KFIR has been upgraded with advanced avionics, glass cockpit, and the integration of state-of-the-art Radar, weapon systems, self-protection systems, aerial refueling, and other features.
The KFIR is currently operational as a front-line fighter aircraft, as well as being used as an “Aggressor” aircraft for pilot training in the United States.
As the KFIR’s original manufacturer, IAI can offer the aircraft with tailored upgraded systems, and guaranteed long-term maintenance support.
IAI Executive VP and GM of IAI’s Aviation Group, Yossi Melamed, said, “I am proud that IAI’s Kfir has been chosen by customers around the world, including in the United States and as the Columbian Air Force’s primary fighter jet. I am grateful to Sri Lanka’s Air Force for choosing to renew their Kfir selection and continue using the Kfir as their Multi-Role Combat Aircraft. I believe this deal is an early step in preparing for future upgrades to the advanced model KNG (Kfir New Generation).”