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Argentina to sign for AESA-equipped Kfir fighters

Argentina is expected to sign a contract on 10 November covering the purchase of 14 Kfir Block 60 fighters. The nation's air force opted to acquire upgraded examples of the Israel Aerospace Industries-produced combat aircraft, which have been non-operational for two decades.

IAI had been offering a Block 60 version of the roughly 40-year-old Kfir design, powered by a GE Aviation J79 engine. The company says the powerplant will be supplied in a "zero-hour" condition after a complete overhaul, with replacement required after 1,600 flight hours.

The upgraded fighter also will be fitted with an Elta Systems EL/M-2032 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and use open architecture avionics that will allow the customer to instal other systems. Elta says the sensor provides an all aspect, "look-down shoot-down" performance, and will support simultaneous air-to-air and strike missions, with the ability to track up to 64 targets.

Flightglobal's Fleets Analyzer database records the Argentine air force as currently operating a combined fleet of 37 jet fighters, spread across aged Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5, Douglas A-4 and IAI Nesher airframes.

The nation's pending acquisition will see it join Colombia, Ecuador and Sri Lanka in operating the Kfir.

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US Air Force

The Colombian air force has already upgraded its C10- and C12-model examples to IAI's enhanced standard, including the AESA radar and Rafael Litening targeting pod. The cockpit features a head-up display and large multi-function displays, while the type is also capable of being refuelled in flight.

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