The Israeli Aerospace Industries Corporation (IAI) recently signed a US$50 million contract with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense to upgrade Kfir aircraft for the Sri Lankan Air Force.
The deal includes replacing the aircraft’s basic avionics with advanced avionics for fighter jets of more than 4 generations in order to one day integrate advanced radars, sensors, communication systems and new helmets. The upgrade process will also include the transfer of refurbishment knowledge and skills to Sri Lankan Air Force personnel. The upgrade will be completed in cooperation with the Sri Lankan Air Force and its local facilities.
Kfir was a game changer on the battlefield when it was first developed. It can carry heavy ammunition (thousands of tons) and hit enemy targets in a precise manner. The decision to upgrade the aircraft is now partly based on the successful completion of this process by the Colombian Air Force. In 2012 and 2018, the Kfir fleet of the Colombian Air Force participated in the US Red Flag exercise along with the US Air Force and other air forces. Kfir demonstrated outstanding capabilities throughout the exercise, far superior to F15, F16 and other participating aircraft.
Yossi Melamed, Executive Vice President of IAI and General Manager of IAI Aviation Group, Said: “I am proud that IAI’s Kfir has been selected by customers all over the world, including major fighters in the U.S. and Colombian Air Forces. I thank the Sri Lankan Air Force for choosing to update their Kfir selection and continue to use Kfir as their multi-role fighter. I believe This transaction is an early step in preparation for future upgrades to the premium model KNG (Kfir New Generation).”
IAI’s aviation group has many years of experience in upgrading military and commercial aircraft. The group is responsible for all manned aircraft, including business jets, avionics, structural components, MRO, the conversion of passenger aircraft to cargo aircraft configuration, etc. The aviation group’s customers include the air force, airlines and major defense companies, including the Israeli Air Force, the U.S. Air Force, the Sri Lankan Air Force, the Colombian Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, etc.