12 December 2017 – Palanquero, Colombia — Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) today marked the completion of the upgrading of Kfir airplanes for the Colombian Air force. At a ceremony held today at CACOM 1 (Comando Aéro de Combate N°1) air base in Palanquero, Cundinamarca, the number one fighter base of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana (FAC). The ceremony was attended by IAI’s management team, representatives of Colombia’s Ministry of National Defense, Colombia’s Air Force commander, and the staff of Israel’s Embassy in Colombia. High-ranking Colombian military officials expressed their satisfaction and appreciation of the Israeli Kfir aircraft. Manufactured by IAI’s Lahava Division.
A final iteration of the French Mirage III re-engined with a US engine and fitted with Israeli-made avionics, the Kfir, known as el Cachorro de León in FAC service, is a multirole aircraft with strong ammunition carrying capabilities for air-air and air-ground applications. Colombia is today one of the main users of this aircraft. Upgraded Kfir’s have been sold to other countries before, including Sri Lanka and Ecuador, but have since been retired.
The project included thorough upgrading of the whole FAC fleet of some twelve Kfir combat airplanes, including fitting them with the latest hi-tech avionics package. Kfir aircraft is also used by ATAC, an American civilian company which provides enemy staging and trials for the US Navy (aka Aggressor or ADAIR techniques). The upgraded Kfir airplanes are known for their excellent handling of modern combat arenas.
Joseph Weiss, IAI CEO, said: “The Kfir Project, which we celebrate today, is an Israeli-built multirole combat aircraft with cutting edge avionics, advanced weapon and self-protection systems, air refueling and other features which make it one of the most efficient aerial war machines in the world. IAI plans to keep the Colombian government and the Air Force as its close ally; we will continue our very successful collaboration, improve the systems and add new capabilities for our shared mission of keeping the Colombian Armed Forces as a force to be reckoned with.
General Carlos Eduardo Bueno, commander of Colombia’s air force, commented: “This project is of prime Importance for Colombia’s air force and is another great example of our long-standing collaboration with IAI including important integrations of key, challenging features. The combination of radar, communication and advanced technologies has made the Kfir squadron the leader that it is.” //