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Kurnass 2000 (Sledgehammer)

Since 1980, the Israeli Air Force, together with Israel Aircraft Industries, engaged in an upgrade program for the fighter F-4E Phantom Kurnass [Heavy Hammer], resulting in the Kurnass 2000, with revised electronics,cockpit and radar upgrades, structural strengthening and more. Although they look practically identical, the Kurnas 2000 is a completely different plane.

Phantoms refitted to Kurnass 2000 standard underwent many changes and had their wiring, fuel tanks and hydraulic systems replaced. The Norden APG-76 Synthetic Aperature radar replaced the former APQ-120 radar. This radar uses advanced technologies that were originally developed for the US Navy's future attack plane, the A-12 Avenger II - a project that has since been cancelled. A Kairser wide-angle head up display was added as well. The wide angle means that the system effectively covers 60% of the pilot's forward view - twice the angle covered by other systems. The aircraft's avionic suite was also greatly updated with a new mission computer, multifunction displays, new communications gear and more. The Kurnass-2000 upgrade enabled the Phantom II to carry and deliver next generation laser and TV-guided munitions (including AGM-142 Have Lite missiles) with increased precision.

Modifications to the two Phantoms allocated to the program were carried out at the IAF's Central Maintenance Unit. The first Kurnass 2000 prototype took off on 15 July 1987 and the IAF begun extensive testing of the aircraft on 11 August. On 09 April 1989 the 201st "The One" squadron received the first production Kurnass 2000, the serial upgrading of the IAF's Phantom fleet having taken place at Israel Aircraft Industries' facility at Ben Gurion Airport.

February 1991 saw the first operational sortie of the Kurnass 2000, striking terrorist positions in Lebanon. The type which now equips a number of squadrons has since regularly participated in IAF strikes on Lebanon, most notably operation "Accountability" in July 1993 and operation "Grapes of Wrath" in April 1996.

A similar upgrade has also been implemented by IAI on Turkish Air Force Phantoms, including an advanced ELTA SPS-100 fire control system/radar, adopted from the abortive IAI LAVI Technology-demonstrator or early 1990s.

Primary Role
Two seat multi-task fighter
Wingspan: 11.68 m
Length: 19.20 m
Height: 5.00 m
Wing area: 49.24 sq. m
Maximum speed: exceeds Mach 2
Attack radius: 492 km
Ceiling: over 18 km
Empty: 13,760 kg, Max. loaded: 28,030 kg
Power Plant
Two General Electric J79-GE-17 engines, with a thrust of 5,385 kg. each
A Vulcan six-barrelled 20 mm. cannon with 640 rounds,
  • air-to-air Sparrow, Sidewinder, Shafrir 2 or
  • Python (3, 4).
  • Air-to-ground armaments weighing 7,257 kg., including guided bombs like Popeye and iron bombs

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    Page last modified: 14-02-2016 20:09:38 ZULU