Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) recently signed a contract, worth USD $50 million with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense to upgrade Kfir aircraft for the Sri Lankan Air Force.
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, when first developed, was a game changer on the battlefield with its ability to carry heavy ammunition (thousands of tons) and reach enemy targets in a precise manner. The decision to upgrade the aircraft now, was based in part, on the successful completion of this process in the Columbian Air Force. In 2012 and 2018, the Columbian Air Force’s Kfir fleet participated in the United States Red Flag exercise, alongside the U.S. Air Force and other air forces. The Kfir displayed exceptional capabilities throughout the exercise, far better than the F15, F16 and other participating aircraft.
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).”
IAI’s Aviation Group has many years of experience upgrading military and commercial aircraft. The group is responsible for all manned aircraft, including executive jets, avionics, structural assemblies, MRO, conversion of passenger airplanes to freighter configuration, etc. The Aviation Group’s customers include air forces, airlines, and major defense companies, including the Israel Air Force, U. S. Air Force, Sri Lanka Air Force, Colombia Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and more.