Falcon Models FA729001 Israeli Air Force IAI Kfir Multi-Role Aircraft - No. 534 (1:72 Scale)
"The one thing I cannot forgive the Arabs for is that they forced our sons to kill their sons."
- Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir
The Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir ("Lion Cub") is an Israeli-built all-weather, multirole combat aircraft based on a modified French Dassault Mirage 5 airframe, with Israeli avionics and an Israeli-made version of the General Electric J79 turbojet engine.
The development of this aircraft has been attributed to covert action on the part of Mossad. After General De Gaulle embargoed the sale of arms to Israel, the IAF feared that in the future it would no longer have an upper hand over its regional adversaries that were being re-equipped with more advanced Soviet aircraft. The bulk of the Israeli Air Force had been locked into the Mirage but was quickly facing problems because Mirage numbers were somwhat depleted after the Six-Day War. They did not have a better alternative than the Mirage. Mossad was able to acquire the plans for the Mirage III, which were used directly in the design process of the Kfir aircraft series.
Two powerplants were initially selected for trials, the General Electric J79 turbojet and the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan. In the end, the J79 was selected, not least because it was the same engine used on the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, which the Israelis began to acquire from the United States in 1969, along with a license to produce the J79 themselves. The J79 was clearly superior to the original French Atar 09, providing a dry thrust of 49 kN (11,000 lbf) and an afterburning thrust of 83.4 kN (18,750 lbf).
In order to accommodate the new powerplant on the Mirage III's airframe, and to deliver the added cooling required by the J79, the aircraft's rear fuselage was slightly shortened and widened, its air intakes were enlarged, and a large air inlet was installed at the base of the vertical stabilizer, so as to supply the extra cooling needed for the afterburner. The engine itself was encased in a titanium heatshield.
A two-seat Mirage IIIBJ fitted with the GE J79 made its first flight in September 1970, and was soon followed by a re-engined Nesher, which flew in September 1971.
An improved prototype of the aircraft, with the name Ra'am B ("Thunder") the Ra'am A was the Nesher, made its first flight in June 1973. It had an extensively revised cockpit, a strengthened landing gear, and a considerable amount of Israeli-built avionics. The internal fuel tanks were slightly rearranged, their total capacity being increased to 713 gallons.
There were unconfirmed reports that a number of the original Mirage IIICs, re-engined with the J79 and given the name Barak ("Lightning"), took part in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, but some sources point out that there is no real evidence that these aircraft ever existed.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of an Israeli Air Force IAI Kfir multi-role aircraft.
Wingspan: 4-1/2 inches
Length: 8-1/4 inches
Release Date: July 2013