Sri Lanka will upgrade 5 IAI Kfir, along with other aircraft – The Sri Lankan Air Force seeks to increase its combat capacity, starting with the modernization of several of its assets.
Sri Lanka will upgrade 5 IAI Kfir, along with other aircraft
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – In addition to the Kfir, works are underway on the modernization of two C-130 Hercules, An-32 aircraft, and Mil Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters.
The Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, consulted by the local newspaper Daily Mirror, commented the following:
“We have already started talks with an Israeli aircraft manufacturer to review five Kfir fighter jets from the Sri Lanka Air Force and within this month everything will be finalized.
He also said that the Cabinet of Ministers had already approved a budget of $ 49 million to review and upgrade five Kfir fighter jets, which were on active duty in the SL Air Force.
The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) has a small mixed fleet of IAI Kfir C2 / C7 / TC2, acquired in 1995 and 2001. Its main use was against the irregular troops of the separatist group LTTE (English acronym for Tigres de Liberation of Tamil Eelam), during the civil war that lasted 26 years.
The operational status of the Kfir fleet is unknown, but it must not be good. For 49 million dollars, it is not expected that they will be modernized to current standards such as the C60 (such as the Kfir of Colombia) or the Kfir NG, but rather it should be a major revision and a slight update, replacing obsolete electronics by modern equipment, to put them in safe flight conditions.
The two C-130s available to the Force will also undergo a major review. In the words of the Commander of the Air Force:
“Talks are ongoing with Pakistan and a C-130 will most likely be sent there for review, while tenders have already been called for capital reviews and life extension for the second C-130 aircraft.”.
He also revealed that three SLAF Antonov-32 transport aircraft have already been sent to Ukraine for review purposes, while another AN-32 will also be sent there soon for the same purpose.
Three more MI-17 combat helicopters, which were in active service for the past two decades, had already been dispatched to Lithuania for review purposes. “There were several MI-35 combat helicopters, which are currently on the ground and will also be sent for review and extension of the useful life,” revealed the Commander.
Finally, the SLAF Commander added that two Chinese Harbin Y-12 aircraft will soon be purchased, which will be used for various purposes, including transport, training, search and rescue missions, as well as four small helicopters, which will be used for the purpose of training.