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Colombian Kfirs on ‘Red Flag’

Photo: A Colombian Air Force Kfir lands at Nellis Air Force Base during 'Red Flag 18-3'. USAF/SSgt Angela Ruiz

 

Exercise ‘Red Flag 18-3’ is running from July 23 to August 3 as Nellis AFB. In attendance is the Colombian Air Force with six of its its heavily-upgraded Kfirs.

Col Michael Mathes, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander, said: ‘They are unmatched opportunities for our Airmen, sister services international participants to experience realistic combat scenarios that prepare them for future conflicts.

‘The Colombian Air Force’s participation for this iteration of ‘Red Flag’ is building on our two countries’ long-standing partnership and cooperation,’ said Mathes. ‘We continue to learn from each other and the insight we gain into each other’s operations ensures we maintain a high level of mutual readiness.’

‘For the Colombian Air Force, participating for the second time in ‘Red Flag’ signifies the opportunity to increase the training of our pilots in a very challenging environment,’ said Brig Gen Pablo Garcia, Aerial Combat Command 1 commander. ‘We are ready to learn, apply our knowledge and gain more experience in combat aerial maneuvers with combat squadrons of the US Air Force.’

Colombian Kfir pilots walk back to ‘Red Flag’ HQ after a mission at Nellis. USAF/SSgt Angela Ruiz

In our November 2017 issue, we featured a full report on the Colombian Kfirs by Cees Jan van der Ende. He wrote:

For Colombia, the Kfir was a successful and proven platform and in early 2008, the FAC announced the acquisition of an additional 13 examples that were mothballed in the Negev desert. The surviving 11 C7s, plus the 13 new airframes, would all be upgraded to C10, C12 and TC12 standard.

One of the headlines for this upgrade was the adoption of a new nose cone from the Kfir 2000 and Kfir CE programs that enabled the addition of the Elta EL/M-2032 advanced multi-mode radar. The work also heralded the arrival of Elbit DASH (Display And Sighting Helmet), two new multifunction cockpit displays, Python 5 missiles and a new Beyond Visual Radar (BVR) capability via the Rafael Derby. Colombia really went to town on this round of upgrades, also adding Link-16 datalink, the Rafael Litening targeting pod and the Reccelite reconnaissance pod.

For more details, see https://combataircraft.keypublishing.com/the-magazine/view-issue/?issueID=7198

One of the six Kfirs on the flight line at Nellis. USAF/SSgt Angela Ruiz

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