Kfir crash AP 2009
Site of a Kfir fighter jet crash in Colombia, July 2009. Photo by AP
Text size
related tags

An Israeli fighter jet purchased by the Columbian Air Force crashed last week during a training flight. The two pilots managed to desert the plane unharmed.

The jet, a two-seat Kfir, was upgraded by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) as part of a $150 million deal signed between Israel and Columbia.

A team of IAI and Columbia Air experts Force was present in Bogota at the time of the September 30 accident and is currently investigating the crash.

One theory is that a malfunction in the jet's engine, produced by General Electric Corporation caused the crash, with the team checking whether the rest of the upgraded Kfir jets have similar problems.

In 2009, a Colombia Kfir jet crashed in a similar incident near the city of Cartagena. The Israeli pilots operating the plane were unharmed in the incident, but the jet itself was destroyed.

Israel Aerospace Industries said in a statement that the plane was flying a refresher flight, and that the aircraft didn't come to a stop on the landing strip, landing outside it.

The Kfir, developed in Israel, is a modification of the French Mirage, which was first manufactured in Israel after France imposed an embargo on Israel in 1967. At first, the aircraft were named Nesher, Hebrew for eagle, but after the engine was upgraded to an American one, the aircraft's name was changed to Kfir, meaning lion cub. The aircraft was retired from Israeli military use in the 80s.