• Short Summary

    The Israeli Air Force has unveiled a new version of the Kfir ("Lion-Cub") multi-role combat aircraft.

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    The Israeli Air Force has unveiled a new version of the Kfir ("Lion-Cub") multi-role combat aircraft.

    SYNOPSIS: It went on public show for the first time at the Hatzerim Air Base in the Negev Desert in southern Israel during the annual Israeli Airforce Day this week.

    The new aircraft was the star attraction. The latest version - designated C2-has been developed for ground attack. Winglets have been attached forward of the delta wings to increase manoeuvrability. It can carry a variety of weapons, ranging from conventional bombs to air-to-air missiles. The Kfir is Israeli built, based on the French Mirage fuselage and powered by the United States-made Phantom jet engines.

    The crowd, which included foreign air attaches, viewed a wide variety of aircraft. These included the Harvard, one of the first planes flown by the Israeli Air Force. It provided a sharp contrast to the new various of the Kfir which has a maximum speed of 2,254 kilometres an hour (1,400 miles per hour).

    The new Kfir recently went into service with the Israeli Air Force. It joins the earlier version which was one of the country's front line fighter aircraft in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Currently half the Israeli defence budget is going to the Air Force. According to Defence Minister Mr. Shimon Peres, Israel is determined to maintain air supremacy in the Middle East.

    Much of the money is going on fast helicopters capable of carrying large numbers of troops. But a slice of the budget has also been earmarked for the country's aircraft industry and for developing a nw generation of Israeli-built front-line military aircraft. The Kfir is the country's first ever home manufactured military plane.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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