Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is delivering the first batch of upgraded Kfir fighter jets to the Colombian Air Force in a ceremony held at IAI's facilities in Israel. In attendance at the ceremony was Juan Hurtado Cano, the Colombian Ambassador to Israel, high ranking officers from the Colombian Air Force, and executives from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD-SIBAT), and IAI.
In late 2007 IAI was awarded a multi-year contract worth over $150 million to upgrade the existing Colombian Air Force Kfir jets, and to supply additional jets.
Mr. Itzhak Nissan, IAI's President and CEO said: "IAI's new technologies were integrated in the new Kfir jets to better their capabilities and allow longer operational service. The short delivery schedule and high quality of the aircraft were feasible thanks to IAI's integration capability, and the knowledge and experience of Lahav and other IAI divisions".
The Kfir fighter jet, manufactured at IAI's Lahav Division of the Military Aircraft Group, is a multi-role, all-weather combat jet with high carrying capabilities of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground munitions.
The additional Kfir jets, models C10-C12, have been upgraded and improved to include IAI's latest technologies and products.
Currently, Kfir jets play an advanced role in the Air Forces of Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Colombia, and they have been used in the US Navy to act as adversary aircraft in dissimilar air combat training.
Kfir jets are also used by the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), a civilian company that provides fleet tactical aircraft and services to the US military. ATAC provides airborne tactical training, threat simulation, and research & development.
Principal Deputy Director of SIBAT, Mr, Meir Shalit said: "IMOD is proud of IAI and their great achievement and cooperation with the Colombian Air Force. IMOD sees IAI as a genuine partner that promotes Israel's quality defense export".
Colonel Diego Sepulveda Alzate of the Colombian Air Force said: "We feel immense happiness, satisfaction, and pride for this addition to the Colombian Air Force. We are grateful to the workers at LAHAV and at IAI in general for all their hard work."
Israel Aerospace Industries, is one of Israel’s leading technological-industrial companies employing around 16,400 people and is a leading developer of aviation and aerospace technology in the military and civilian markets. IAI’s backlog grew from over $1 billion at the beginning of 2009 to a record high of over $8 billion. IAI is a world leader in a wide range of advanced technologies, including development, production, renovation, upgrading, repair and maintenance of aircraft, missiles, launchers, communications satellites, observation satellites and ground services, electronic systems, avionics systems, advanced radar, precision-guided munitions and unmanned aerial vehicles.