The F-21 Kfir fighter jet is a single-seat multitask fighter built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The fighter craft was first built for Israeli Air Force (IAF). The first Kfir was delivered to the IAF in 1975, it entered into service in 1976.
The Kfir was sold to various countries and around 27 have been leased to the US Navy and Marine Corps.
Kfir jets are in service with air forces of Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Colombia. They are also being used as aggressor aircraft, with no weapons, by the US Navy, for providing dissimilar air combat training.
A civilian firm Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) has been using Kfir jets to provide airborne tactical training, threat simulation and R&D to its trainers.
Textron Airborne Solutions to provide combat training for US military forces: Here
F-21 Kfir mission variants
Failure of Mirage V’s power plant, the French Atar 9 engine, led to the development of Kfir jets. IAI built 100 Kfirs including the first series Kfir C1, multirole fighter Kfir C2, single-seat version Kfir C7 and double-seated TC2 Kfir models. These models began operations on 9 November 1977 during attack on Tel Azia, a terrorist training base in Lebanon, and came back with success.
The Kfir TC2 is an advanced version of Kfir C2, specifically designed as a training variant. The Kfir C2 has two tandem pairs under the fuselage and two under each wing. TC2 is a two-seater jet with a longer and lower nose to enhance the pilot’s view. Similarly, Kfir TC7 is the advanced version of Kfir C7, designed as two-seat training variant.
The nose of the Kfir C.2 was also redesigned to allow for the placement of a new set of modern Israeli avionics, including the Elta EL/M 2001 or 2001B Pulse-doppler ranging radar, the Rafael MAHAT or IAI WDNS-141 weapon-delivery systems, twin computer flight control systems, multimode navigation systems, and a HUD.
At the beginning of 1981, IAI presented the Kfir TC.2 two-seat variant, which, while retaining full attack capabilities, served as a conversion trainer and Electronic warfare system. The TC.2 is easily recognized by its extended nose, housing all the avionics displaced by the second seat, and noticeably drooped to improve cockpit visibility. By 1983, when production was shifted to a new version, a total of 185 Kfir C.2s and TC.2s had been built.
In addition, Kfir C10, also known as Kfir CE and Kfir 2000, varies from other fighter aircraft as it contains Elta EL/M-2032 radar, HMD capability and two 127mm×177mm mutifunction displays. The Kfir TC10 designed for the Colombian Air force is an improved version of TC7, while Kfir C12 is also called as C-10 without the Elta EL/M-2032 radar.
IAI manufactured the Kfir F-21 fighter jets specifically to meet the requirements of the US Navy and the US Air Force training programmes.
The single-seat fighter jet Kfir C7 had an updated cockpit, latest avionics, inflight refuelling capabilities and smart bomb integration.
- Kfir C.1: Basic production variant.
- F-21A Kfir: 25 upgraded Kfir C.1 aircraft were leased to the USN and USMC for an aggressor role and were designated F-21A. These aircraft had been modified and included canards on the air intakes. These canards greatly improved the aircraft maneuverability and slow speed control, and were adopted on later variants.
- Kfir C.2: An improved C.1 that featured a lot of aerodynamic improvements. Changes included “dogtoothed” leading edges on the wings, small strakes under the nose and a larger sweep angle of the canards.
- Kfir TC.2: A two-seat training variant developed from the C.2. It has a longer and lowered nose to improve the pilot’s view.
- Kfir C.7: Vastly modified variant. Most if not all C.2 aircraft were modified to this variant. It included an improved J79-GEJ1E engine that offered more 1,000 lbs of thrust at full afterburner (and as a result increasing the Maximum Take-off Weight by 3,395 lbs), 2 more hardpoints under the air intakes, better avionics such as the Elta EL/M-2021B radar, HOTAS configured cockpit and inflight refueling capability.
- Kfir TC.7: A two-seat training variant developed from the C.7.
- Kfir C.9: Proposal for Argentina powered by Atar 9K50. Cancelled. Later developed as South Africa’s Atlas Cheetah
- Kfir C.10: A variant developed especially for export. The most important change is the adaptation of the Elta EL/M-2032 radar. Other changes include HMD capability and two 127×177mm MFDs. This variant is also known as Kfir CE ( Ecuadorean version ) and Kfir COA (Colombian version).
- Kfir TC.10: Upgraded version of the TC.7 for the Colombian Air Force.
- Kfir C.12: Upgraded version of the C.7 for the Colombian Air Force, a C-10 without the Elta EL/M-2032 radar.
- Kfir Tzniut: Reconnaissance version of the C.2.
- Kfir Block 60: Upgraded version of the C.10, The main feature of this variant is the use of AESA radar, proposed to the Bulgarian Air Force and Colombian Air Force. As of January 2014 Argentina is reported to be interested in a US$500m deal for eighteen Block 60 to replace its planned acquisition of second-hand Mirage F1M from Spain.
Elta EL/M-2032 AESA radar
The ELM-2032 is an advanced Multimode Airborne Fire Control Radar designed for multimission fighters, oriented for both air-to-air and strike missions. Modular hardware design, software control and flexible avionic interfaces ensure that the radar can be installed in fighter aircraft (such as F-16, F-5, Mirage, F-4, Mig 21, etc.) and can be customized to meet specific user requirements.
- Pulse Doppler, all aspect, look-down shoot-down capabilities
- TWT coherent transmitter
- Ultra low sidelobe planar antenna
- Two axes monopulse, guard channel
- Programmable signal processor
- Full software control
- Most advanced architecture, technology and components
- Adaptability and growth potential
- MIL 1553B interface to avionic system
- Modular hardware configuration
- Spare memory space and computing power
“The advanced pulse Doppler, multimode FCR can detect and track manoeuvring targets while employing advanced techniques to lock on the target in close combat engagements of up to 150km.
The radar provides very high resolution ground imagery using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology for smart weapons guidance in air-to-ground missions.
While in air-to-sea operation mode, the FCR offers long-range target detection and tracking, including target classification capabilities at a ranges of up to 300km.” Data airforce-technology.com
IAI Looks East To Sell Updated Kfirs
Offering a modernized version of its 1970s-era, delta-wing Kfir Mach 2+ fighter aircraft,is looking toward the Asia-Pacific region for new prospects.
The company can still deliver up to 50 Kfirs, configured to the newest Block 60 standard, using airframes retired from IAF service in the 1990s, according to IAI sources. IAI recently unveiled upgrades, including the introduction of IAI/Elta EL/M 2052 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, extending the fighter jets’ capabilities to conduct maritime strike missions and extended air defense, through the networked integration of on-board and off-board sensors. Source: Aviation Week Dated Feb, 2014
IAI/Elta EL/M 2052 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar
The modular design weighs 130-180kg (286-397lb) and consumes 4-10kVA, depending on the design configuration, and has built-in growth potential, the company says.
The ELM-2052 is an advanced Fire Control Radar (FCR) designed for air-to-air superiority and strike missions, based on fully solid-state Active Ellectronically Scanning Array (AESA) technology, enabling the radar to achieve long detection ranges, high mission reliability and multi-target tracking capabilities.
The ELM-2052 radar provides simultaneous modes of operation supporting multi-mission capabilities for air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea operation modes, and weapon deployment.
In the air-to-air mode, the radar delivers very long-range multi target detection and enables several simultaneous weapon deliveries in combat engagements.
In air-to-ground missions, the radar provides very high resolution SAR mapping, surface moving target detection and tracking over RBM and SAR maps in addition to A/G ranging.
In air-to-sea missions the radar provides long-range target detection and tracking, including target classification capabilities (RS, ISAR).
The ELM-2052 radar design reflects ELTA’s vast field-proven radar experience and operational feedback received from Israeli Air Force fighter pilots.
- Solid-state, active phased array technology
- Pulse Doppler, all aspect, shoot down capabilities
- Simultaneous multi-target tracking and engaging
- Simultaneous multi-mode operation
- High ECM immunity
- Ultra-low side-lobe antenna
- Sigma, two axis monopulse and guard channels
- Flexible interfaces and growth potential:
– Modular hardware and software
– Spare memory and computing power
- High mission reliability (built with redundancy)
- TWS/Multi-target detection and tracking
- Multi-target ACM
- High resolution raid assessment
- High resolution mapping (SAR Mode)
- AGR – Air-to-Ground Ranging
- RBM – Real Beam Map
- DBS – Doppler Beam Sharpening
- GMTI on RBM, SAR
- GMTT on RBM, SAR
- Sea search and multi-target tracking
- RS and ISAR classification modes
At 40 Years of age, Kfir Turns into a “Networked Fighter”
The Kfir Block 60 offers a robust and versatile Mach 2+ multi-role jet fighter, carrying 5.5 tons payloads on nine hard-points under the wings and fuselage. The weaponry is enhanced to include Python 5 and Derby. Kfir Block 60 has also completed the integration of RAFAEL Spice autonomous guided weapon, (second platform offering that capability, after the F-16). Conforming to NATO standards, Kfir Block 60 supports Link-16 datalink protocol. The aircraft has combat radius of 1,000 km (540 nm) unrefueled. With refueling the aircraft can fly to a range of 1,100 nm.
Melamed claims Lahav can deliver the first Kfir Block 60 within 12 months after receiving the an order, at roughly a third of the cost of other fighter jets with similar capabilities. This assessment is based on the experience IAI Lahav has gained processing over 2500 aircraft, upgrading earlier Kfir, F-4E, F-16, A-4M, MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Su-22. “At times where air forces are seeking cost savings, without degrading operational capabilities, the upgraded Kfir has demonstrated superior performance and reliability in operational use and combat exercises.” Melamed concludes. Source defense-update.com
Argentina and Israel Resume Kfir Block 60 Talks
After the breaking off of talks between Argentina and Israel over the sale of 14 Kfir Block 60 fighters, both parties are to resume negotiations . The deal had initially been called off in October, just before contracts were to be signed, as a result of elections in Argentina. The fighters had been previously used by the Israeli Air Force, but have been upgraded with the latest systems, including the Elta 2032 active electronically scanned array radar. They will also have an open architecture to allow the Argentinian air force to install other systems.
F-21 orders and production
Mar 11, 2016 00:20 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff – The Colombian Air Force awarded a multiyear contract worth $150m to IAI in late 2007 to upgrade its old jets and deliver additonal jets.
The contracts included upgrading existing Colombian Air Force Kfir jets with the latest technologies as well as supplying additonal jets. The Kfirs are manufactured at the Lahav division of the Military Aircraft Group in Israel.
Products manufactured by the Lahav division include avionics, combat helicopters and trainers, man-machine interface and cockpit design, aeronautical engineering tasks and assembling of weapon systems in fighter aircraft.
The IAI delivered the first batch of upgraded Kfir fighter jets to the Colombian Air Force on 22 June 2009.
Dassult Falcon designed the Kfir by replacing Mirage V’s French Atar 9 engine with General Electric’s J79 jet engine. The J79 provides more thrust by consuming less fuel. Dassault also altered the engine configuration and enlarged the fuel intake capacity. Kfir is, thus, said to be the advanced version of Mirage V.
Kfir C2 was also developed from French Mirage V, driven with J79-J1E turbojet engine, which provides a maximum range of around 775km and travels with a maximum speed of Mach 2.3. It carries 6,085kg of disposable cargo on nine hardpoints.
To improve the efficiency of Mirage III aircraft, the advanced avionics situated behind the cockpit were removed to increase the fuel capacity of the aircraft while reducing maintenance costs.
IAI initially chose two engine plants, the General Electric J79-GE-17 jet engine and the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan for manufacturing the Kfir fighter, but later produced Kfirs with just the J79-GE-17 jet engine. The first J79-GE-17 jet engine was manufactured by GE Aviation in New York in 1955. More than 2,500 engines are in service, and are due to continue to be so through to 2020. Kfir’s General Electric J79 engine is protected by a titanium heat shield.
General Electric J79-GE-17 jet engine
|SPECIFICATIONS – Model: J79-GE-17|
|Type: Afterburning turbojet engine|
|Length:||17.4 ft (5.3 m)|
|Diameter:||3.2 ft (1.0 m)|
|Dry weight:||3,850 lb (1,750 kg)|
|Compressor:||17-stage axial with variable stator vanes|
|Maximum Takeoff Thrust with Afterburner:||17,835 lbf (79.3 kN)|
|Military Power Rating:||11,905 lbf (52.9 kN)|
|Overall pressure ratio:||13.5:1|
|Turbine inlet temperature:||1,210 蚌 (655 蚓)|
|Specific fuel consumption with afterburner:||1.965 lb/(h損bf) (200 kg/(h搔N))|
|Specific fuel consumption at military thrust:||0.85 lb/(h損bf) (87 kg/(h搔N))|
|Thrust-to-weight ratio:||4.6:1 (45.4 N/kg)|
Kfir jets use guns, 13,415lb (6,085kg) of mixed ordinances, 30mm cannons, missiles, bombs and rockets. It uses air-to-air missiles such as Python 3, Python 4, Python 5, Alto, Derby, and air-to-surface missiles such as Gabriel and NT-Dandy.
DEFA cannon 30mm cannon
|Weight||85 kg (187 lb)|
|Length||1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)|
|Shell||30 (1.18 inch) × 113 mm|
|Calibre||30 mm NATO|
|Rate of fire||1,300 rpm|
|Muzzle velocity||815 m/s (2,670 ft/s)|
Mk 82 500 lbs bombs
Mark 80 series bombs
Cluster bomb munitions
PYTHON-3 is a third-generation short to medium range air-to-air missile adapted to the F-15, F-16, all types of Mirage, F-5, F-4 and Kfir C-2 and C-7 aircraft. The missile upgrades the capability of its carrier and gives it air superiority in modern air combat scenarios, such as:
- Head-on interceptions
- Beam interceptions
- Dogfights involving high-g maneuvers
- Low-altitude interceptions of helicopters and light aircraft
- Self-defense air combat during penetration missions.
- All-aspect capability, including head-on interception
- Effective against most evasive tactics
- Capable of intercepting low-signature and low-altitude threats
- 15 km maximum effective range at high altitude
- Active proximity fuze, based on lead bias navigation system
- Highly efficient warhead
- Versatile target acquisition modes, including slaving to advanced radar system
- Reliability greater than 95%
- Full ILS, including combat doctrine manual, training and ground support equipment
The Python-4 fourth generation A/A missile, in operational use in the Israeli Air Force , features a novel “no escape volume” performance with a unique aerodynamic configuration for superior agility. The state-of-the-art, high performance seeker incorporates an advanced IRCM & background rejection capabilities. The missile includes a highly effective fragmentation warhead. Python 4 is a very nimble “fire and forget” missile with an improved maneuvering capability. It has an advanced homing head with a lateral “squint” capability which allows it to receive signals from the line of vision of the pilot who sees the enemy plane through a special (Elbit-developed) helmet. The missile receives these signals and hits the enemy plane without requiring the pilot to steer his aircraft at the enemy plane. The Python 4 can be launched at a range of over 15 km, its warhead is over 11 kg, and its electromagnetic proximity fuze is one of the best in the world.
|Manufacturer||Rafael Armament Development Authority|
|Date Deployed||Mid 1980’s|
|Range||0.5 km to 15 km|
|Propulsion||One Rafael Armaments Development Authority double-base solid propellant rocket motor|
|Warhead||24.25 lb ( 11 kg )|
|Launch Weight||264.6 lb ( 120 kg )|
|Length||9 ft, 10.1 in ( 3.00 m )|
|Diameter||6.3 in ( 160 mm )|
|Fin Span||2 ft, 9.9 in ( 0.86 m )|
Developed by the Israeli firm RAFAEL, the Python 5 is an air-to-air guided missile which is launched from a fighter aircraft (Kfir, F-15, F-16, Sea Harrier, etc). The Python 5 is powered by a solid propellant rocket engine and is armed with an 11kg, detonation-proximity warhead. Traveling at Mach 4, this precise weapon has an operational range of 22 km. It is equipped with an electro-optical imaging infrared seeker (IIR or ImIR) which scans the target area for hostile aircraft, then locks-on to target in its final phase. The Python 5 is a fifth generation of air-to-air Python missiles. The missile allows the pilot to engage an enemy aircraft with a revolutionary full sphere launch capability. The Python-5 is the most accurate and reliable air-to-air missile in the Israeli Army’s inventory and one of the most advanced guided missile in the world.
Specifications of the Python 5
Type: air-to-air guided missile
Propulsion: solid fuel rocket engine
Range: 22 km
Speed: Mach 4
Warhead: 11 kg
Gudance system: IR + electro-optical imaging seeker, lock on after launch, with infrared counter-counter-measures
Length: 310 cm
Span: 64 cm
Diameter: 16 cm
Weight: 105 kg
Derby BVR Air-to-Air Missile
Derby (Alto) is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to meet the combat needs of the armed forces.
The Derby AAM can be integrated onto a variety of fighter aircraft such as F-5, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Gripen E and Mirage and is capable of engaging aerial threats from short ranges and near-beyond visual range.
Derby’s variants include I-Derby and I-Derby ER (Extended Range). The upgraded I-Derby AAR missile is equipped with a software-defined active radar seeker and was unveiled at the Aero India 2015 exhibition held in Bengaluru, India.
The I-Derby ER advanced active radar missile was unveiled at the Paris Air Show 2015. It features a solid-state active radar seeker and a dual pulse rocket motor, which provides an operational range of up to 100km.
The missile can be launched from Sea Harrier jet fighter, F-16 (Block 52) Fighting Falcon, F-5E Tiger II, and IAI Kfir combat aircraft.
The weapon has a length of 362cm, a wing span of 64cm and a diameter of 16cm. It weighs 118kg and is armed with a 23kg warhead. The seeker and guidance system are fitted in the front of the missile, while the rocket motor is placed at the rear.
The missile can operate in lock-on before launch (LOBL) and lock-on after launch (LOAL) modes. In LOAL mode of operation, it receives target information after being deployed from its launch platform, while in LOBL mode, which is enabled in tight dogfights, the seeker is locked onto the target before the missile is launched.
The active radar seeker provides guidance and improved target accuracy at radio frequency (RF). The radar’s look-down / shoot-down capability enables the missile to attack targets below and along the line of the horizon.
Derby’s high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead defeats non-armoured targets and light material targets.
The weapon features fire-and-forget engagement capability and can be optionally fitted with advanced, programmable electronic counter countermeasures (ECCM) for operation in hostile environments. Data airforce-technology.com
In addition, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles such as Gil ATGM, MapatzATGM, Spike ATGM and Barak, Barak NG, Barak 8, SPYDER are also used.
BLU-107 Matra Durandal
The Durandal is a penetration bomb of French origin. It was developed in the early 1970’s at the request of the French air force. It is specifically developed for use against runways. The design is based on an earlier French-Israeli development which proved very successful during the 1967 Six Day War. The Durandal is named after a mythical medieval sword.
The Durandal is capable of penetrating 38 cm of concrete before the warhead explodes. The limited size 15 kg warhead does much more damage than a much heavier conventional bomb would achieve. The Durandal results in a crater 2 meters deep and 5 meters wide. Around the crater the tarmac is dislodged resulting in a damage area of 150 to 275 squared meters depending on runway thickness.
The Duranal can be carried by a wide variety of aircraft, most of which are of French origin. The list includes the Jaguar, Mirage 3, Mirage 5, Mirage F1, Mirage 2000, Super Etendard, Hawk, Alpha Jet, A-4 Skyhawk, F-5 Tiger, F-4 Phantom, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-111 Aardvark. All aircraft can carry multiple Durandals due to its limited weight. On some externals stores mounts two durandals can be fitted behind each other.
|Warhead||15 kg HE|
|Guidance||None, free fall|
|Launch envelope||Up to Mach 1.8 at 10 km|
|Remarks||356 mm lug spacing|
An integrated electronic warfare self protection, EL/L-8262 enables the figther jets to defend against surface-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems.
ELL-8260/2 – INEW SPS
- Provides self-defense against Surface-to-Air and Air-to-Air weapon systems.
- Enhances the survivability of helicopter during operations in a hostile, multi-spectral weapon systems environment.
- Autonomous multi-spectral threat environment analysis and identification by integration and fusion RWR, LWR and MAWS data .
- Effectively timed Chaff and Flare dispensing.
- Threats may be quickly and easily updated or added, using PC-based equipment and a user-friendly Human-Machine Interface (HMI).
- Flight line re-programmable.
- Full integration with other on-board avionics via 1553 MUXBUS interface.
- Low maintenance turn-around time through extensive BIT diagnostics and modular architecture.
The aircraft Kfir C7, which has two extra hard points, uses smart weapons, Elta EL/M-2021B pulse-Dopplar radar, a revised cockpit with most state-of-art electronics and HOTAS (hands-on throttle and stick) controls and provision for in-flight refuelling.
Kfir can fly at an altitude of 30,000m with a maximum speed of 2,285km/h over a range of 1,300km. The advanced aircraft has the capacity to carry 7,290kg air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, bombs and munitions on two hardpoints.The maximum take off weight is 14,600kg whereas combat radius and service ceiling are 768km and 18,000m.
The IAI F-21 Kfir is a single-engine single-seat fighter and fighter bomber aircraft produced by the Israeli manufacturer Israel Aircraft Industries. The Kfir was/is operated by the Israeli Air Force (Heyl Ha’Avir), the US Navy and US Marine Corps, the Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana), the Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana) and the Sri Lanka Air Force.
The F-21 Kfir is a development of the IAI Nesher, a variant of the Dassault Mirage 5.
|Propulsion||1 Turbofan Engine|
|Engine Model||General Electric J79-J1E|
|52,9 / 83,4 kN||11900 / 18750 lbf|
|Speed||2445 km/h||1320 kts
|Service Ceiling||17.678 m||58.000 ft|
|Range||770 km||416 NM
|Empty Weight||7.285 kg||16.061 lbs|
|max. Takeoff Weight||16.200 kg||35.715 lbs|
|Wing Span||8,22 m||26 ft 12 in|
|Wing Area||34,8 m²||375 ft²|
|Length||15,65 m||51 ft 4 in|
|Height||4,55 m||14 ft 11 in|
|Production Status||out of production|
|Developed from||Dassault Mirage 5 (IAI Nehser)|
|Data for (Version)||IAI Kfir C.2|
|Variants||Kfir C.1, F-21A Kfir, Kfir C.2, Kfir TC.2, Kfir C.7, Kfir TC.7, Kfir C.10, Kfir TC.10, Kfir C.12, Kfir Tzniut|
Technical data flugzeuginfo.net
Main material source airforce-technology.com
Revised Dec 15, 2017