The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed a new contract worth US$50 million with Israeli defense company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the reviving and upgrade of its fleet of 5 Kfir multirole fighter aircraft.
The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) has 5 or 6 Kfir C2/C7/TC2 fighter aircraft operated by the No. 10 Squadron, but have been grounded and in need of modernization.
The program includes replacing the aircraft’s basic avionics with advanced 4+ generation fighter aircraft avionics, as well as the transfer of knowledge and skills for refurbishing the aircraft by SLAF personnel.
The upgrade works will also involve several local facilities as well as the SLAF itself, with the works expected to start within the year.
The replacement of avionics would bring the SLAF Kfir fleet to Block 60 standard, although the acquisition and integration advanced radar, sensors, communication systems, and new helmets, which would be acquired separately.
The Kfir is an all-weather, multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft developed by Israel’s IAI, and is also currently in use by the Colombian Air Force and US private contractors.
The SLAF acquired a total of 15 Kfir fighter aircraft from Israel between 1996 to 2000, but suffered from high attrition rate with 7 fighters lost or destroyed, and 2 aircraft completely withdrawn from service and used as display and gate guard.