Kfir - The Lethal Fighter Jets From Israel
Mid air accident involving two Kfirs kills one pilot
Last week two Kfir combat aircraft collided in midair during a rehearsal for an air show to be held on the following day to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Srilanka Air Force (SLAF). Pilot of one aircraft died as his parachute failed to open, and other pilot escaped unhurt thanks to martin Baker Ejection Seat used in the Kfirs. Two planes are said to be US$ 15 million worth. SLAF is one of the three operators of Israeli built Kfirs.
Kfir C7 - SLAF
A Hub on Kfir
After reading the great hub on SR-71 (Blackbird) by Shynsly, I felt like writing on the aircraft that did a great service in eliminating the terrorism from the soil of Srilanka. Among the few aircraft used by the tiny air force of the tiny nation of Srilanka, Kfirs did a great service in the war especially silencing the artillery used by the Tigers. A total of 16 Kfirs were purchased by SLAF and none were destroyed in the combat by the enemy. But two were destroyed and seven were damaged by terrorists when they staged a commando type attack on Katunayaka Air Force Base and the International Airport in 2001.
The loss suffered by the SLAF is six fighter jets, two attack helicopters and 12 other crafts badly damaged. National carrier Srilankan suffered a loss of three Airbuses and three more Airbuses were damaged in this attack.
A total of 26 aircraft destroyed or damaged
History of Kfir in SLAF
The history of Kfirs in the service of SLAF dates back to 1995, with the purchase of six Kfirs from Israel. The purchase included six Kfir C2s and one Kfir TC2. The “No: 10 fighter squadron” was strengthened with the addition of nine Kfirs four C2s, four C7s and one TC2 in 2005. SLAF did not loose any Kfirs in combat. But two were destroyed by the LTTE at the SLAF Airbase and three more were lost in accidents.
After the loss of these two Kfirs SLAF is left with 10 Kfirs. These aircraft may not be ever used for any combat role in the future and they have done their service excellently.
In addition to Kfirs SLAF operates Mig 27 ( Russian) , F7 and F5 (Chinese) fighter jets.
How Israelis Developed Kfir
In Hebrew Kfir means Lion Cub. Kfir is the most advanced version of the French fighter Mirage from 1950s designed and built by Dassault Aviation. It is a long story how Kfir C10 from Mirage III. In the 1960s at the request of the Israelis, Dassault Aviation modified Mirage III to have a longer range and Modified version was called Mirage 5 Dassault built 50 Mirage 5 aircraft for Israeli order but the French Government stopped the sale of Mirages to Israel. Agents of Mossad were able to acquire the designs and all the plans of Mirage, and Israeli Aircraft Industry (IAI) produced Mirage 5 without any licensing. Knowledgeable people cited this as the greatest industrial espionge coup of the century. This fighter was named Nesher (meaning Eagle). Designers at IAI had to alter the airframe of Mirage to accommodate General Electric J79 engine that they were manufacturing with license from GE. Modified version of Nesher was named Kfir C1. Later advanced versions C2, C7 and C10 were produced. ( How Israelis acquired the designs of Mirage has been still not clear but if you are interested please read Mirage, by James Follett to know more. Interesting book)
Other users of Kfirs
IAI built a total of 212 Kfirs.
25 were sold or leased to US
18 were sold to Colombia
!5 were sold to Srilanka
13 went into service in Equdor
Kfirs were retired from service in US and Israel.