Kfir Fighter - Israel
The Israel Kfir ("lion cub" in Rabbinic) fighter is the airframe of the Dassault Mirage III/5 series mated to the General Electric J79-GE-17 turbojet, and fitted with a suite of Israel avionics.
The manufacturer is Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. The Kfir was first flown in June 1973, it entered only limited production (27 aircraft), a mere two squadrons being equipped with the type from 1974. The thrust of J79-GE-17 is 11,870 lb st (52.80 kN) dry and 17,900 lb st (79.62 kN) with afterburn. The basic Kfir is also called Kfir C1.
Soon the basic Kfir have been converted into the Kfir C2 type.
The basic Kfir was soon fitted with the Martin-Baker Mk MJ6 zero/zero ejector seat, with other changes it came the Kfir C2 type with the small canard foreplanes. First flight in 1974, the Kfir C2 is a much developed version of the Kfir. The C2 type is distinguishable from the Kfir by its dogtoothed outer wing panels, small undernose strakes and swept delta canard foreplanes. These changes offered C2 type better combat capabilities and good flight performance. The C2 is fitted with Elta EL/M-2001 or EL/M-2001B ranging radar, and has the Rafael Mahat or IAI WDNS-141 weapon-delivery system.
The Kfir C2`s maximum disposable load of 12,731 lb (5775 kg), powerplant of one IAI Bedek Division (General Electric) J79-J1E turbojet rated at 11,890 lb st (52.89 kN) dry and 17,900 lb st (79.62 kN) with afterburning. The external fuel load of up to 6,779 lb (3075 kg) in three 449.1, 343.4, 217.9, 158.5 or 132.1 US gal (374, 286, 181.5, 132 or 110 Imp gal; 1700, 1300, 825, 600 or 500 liter) drop tanks. The empty weight is 16,060 lb (7285 kg). Normal take-off weight of 20,701 lb (9390 kg) as an interceptor with two Shafrir AAMs and 50% internal fuel, or 25,580 lb (11603 kg) as an interceptor with two Shafrir AAMs and two drop tanks, or 31,459 lb (14270 kg) for a CAP with two Shafrir AAMs and three drop tanks, or 32,341 lb (14670 kg) for an attack mission with two Shafrir AAMs, seven 500 lb (227 kg) bombs and two drop tanks. The maximum take-off weight of 35,714 lb (16200 kg), radius of 187 nm (215 miles; 346 km) on a hi-hi-hi interception mission with two Shafrir AAMs and two 132.1 US gal (110 Imp gal; 500 liter) drop tanks, or 379 nm (434 miles; 699 km) on a CAP with two Shafrir AAMs and three 343.4 US gal (286 Imp gal; 1300 liter) drop tanks, or 414 nm (477 miles; 768 km) on a hi-lo-hi attack mission with seven 500 lb (227 kg) bombs, two Shafrir AAMs and two 343.3 US gal (286 Imp gal; 1300 liter) drop tanks, and g limit of +7.
Up to 1980, C2 has a totalled 185 production including the Kfir TC2 two-seat variant. And the later version of the Kfir C2 with the improved EL/M-2001B radar in a longer nose, enlarged canard foreplanes, and extended leading edges on the outer 40% of the main wing's span. Most of the Kfir C2 type still in Israel service have been upgraded to C7 standard.
Kfir TC2 is the combat-capable two-seat conversion trainer variant of the C2, first flown in February 1981, full attack capability remained. The main distinguishing feature of the type is the visibility-improving droop of its nose section, which is lengthened by 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) to accommodate the second cockpit.
Kfir C7 is the definitive single-seat version developed in 1983 and produced by converting Kfir C2s. The C7s have the J79-GE-J1E turbojets with some 1,000 lb st (4.45 kN) more afterburn in combat situations, the thrust-to-weight ratio is enhanced. And supplied with fuel from an internal capacity of 856.7 US gal (713.4 Imp gal; 3243 liters). The type also has better Martin-Baker Mk IL10P zero/zero ejector seat, two extra hardpoints, and capability for the carriage and use of 'smart' weapons, Elta EM/L-2021B pulse-Doppler fire-control radar, a revised cockpit with more sophisticated avionics and HOTAS controls, and provision for airborne refueling. Maximum take-off weight is increased by 3,395 lb (1540 kg) as well as radius is improved.
The weapons are: two 30 mm DEFA 552 cannon with 140 rounds per gun in the underside of the inlets; Up to 6085 kg (13,415 lb) of disposable stores carried on nine hardpoints (five under the fuselage with the centerline unit rated at 2,205 lb/1000 kg and the two flanking tandem pairs each at 2,205 lb/1000 kg, and four under the wings with the inner two units rated at 2,205 lb/1000 kg and the outer two units each at 331 lb/150 kg).
the wide assortment of weapons that can be carried included the Shafrir 2, Python 3 and AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range AAMs, Luz-1 and AGM-65 Maverick ASMs, AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM anti-radar missiles, 'Paveway' laser-guided bomb, GBU-15 HOBOS optronically guided bomb, 3,000, 2,000, 1,000, 750, 500 and 250 lb (1361, 907, 454, 340, 227 and 113 kg) free-fall or retarded bombs, cluster bombs, napalm bombs, and multiple launchers for 2.75 in (70 mm) unguided rockets.
Wing span 26 ft 11.6 in (8.22 m)
Fuel Empty about 16,060 lb (7285 kg)
Kfir TC7 is tandem two-seat variant of the C7, produced by converting Kfir TC2s. Since the full electronic suite is remained, the TC7 can handle the two-seat EW role. The TC7`s length is 53 ft 8 in (16.36 m) including probe, empty equipped and maximum take-off weights of about 16,314 and 36,299 lb (7400 and 16465 kg), maximum level speed 'clean' of 1,146 kt (1,320 mph; 2125 km/h) or Mach 2.00 at 36,000 ft (10975 m), and combat radius of 640 nm (737 miles; 1186 km) on a hi-lo-hi attack mission.
The Kfir is operated by Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Philippines and USA. The photo shows the export version Kfir CE.
April 1985, the US Navy signed a three-year lease for 25 of the aircraft (with small canard foreplanes but no armament as 12 F-21A machines for the US Navy and 13 for the US Marine Corps to operate in the USA as 'aggressor' aircraft for the training of US Navy and US Marine Corps pilots in dissimilar air combat maneuvers. The last of the aircraft was returned in April 1989. And the South Africa developed their Cheetah fighter based on Kfir in 1980s.
Now about 20 Kfir C7s remained serving in IAF and 120 C2/C7 stored up . Israel is currently considering the viability of re-engining the C2 type (together with some of the country's currently mothballed force of 80 or more older Kfir C2s) with the SNECMA Atar 9K-50 turbojet, rated at 11,056 lb st (49.18 kN) dry and 15,873 lb st (70.61 kN) with afterburning, to get round the possibility of an American embargo on the export of aircraft with the J79 engine. Israel also plans to offer these re-engined aircraft with an updated avionics suite including the Elta EL/M-2032 multi-mode radar developed from the EL/M-2023 radar, the later developed for the cancelled IAI Lavi multi-role fighter. A possible customer is South Africa.
To seperate frome the Mirage fighters in the Arabian country, Kfir always have a black-yellow delta painting on its tail.