Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is in talks to upgrade Kfir fighter aircraft of the Sri Lankan air force.
Sri Lanka purchased a total of 16 Kfir jets from Israel between 1995 and 2005; at least seven were lost during the 26-year-long Sri Lankan civil war and IAI is in talks with Colombo to upgrade and return to service its five grounded Kfir jets, Jesrusalem Post reported Monday.
According to Sri Lankan news site ColomboPage, the government is considering to buy eight multi-role fighter aircraft to replace its aging fighter jets.
“At the moment, [Sri Lanka has] only one Kfir aircraft – the remaining six aircrafts cannot be used. We have seven MiG aircrafts and eight other aircrafts but none of them can be used. The Government will consider all offers and select a suitable one,” said Parliamentary Reforms and Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka, last year.
Manufactured at the Lahav division of the Military Aircraft Group in Israel, the Kfirs are designed as a versatile all-weather multi-role supersonic combat jet. The jets can fly at an altitude of 30,000m. With a maximum speed of 2,285 kph and has a range of 1,300 km. It has a maximum take-off weight of 14,600 kg and can carry several air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, bombs and other munitions.
The Kfir has been sold to the air forces of Sri Lanka, Colombia, Ecuador. The jets are also used by ATAC, an American civilian company that provides enemy staging and trials for the US Navy.