3RD LEAD

Kfir bomb explodes under loading, 4 airmen wounded in Katunayake airbase

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 July 2007, 11:37 GMT]
Four Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) airmen were wounded while they were fixing bombs to a Israeli-built Kfir fighter aircraft inside the Katunayake airbase in Colombo around 2:45 p.m., Sunday. Intial reports said the bomber aircraft, preparing for its mission on Kudumpimalai jungles in Batticaloa district, was damaged in the mishap and another fighter jet parked in the airbase was also sustained damage due to the mpact of the blast. However, the SLAF spokesman, Group Captain Ajantha de Silva, declined to comment on the damage to the bombers.

The SLAF spokesman also claimed that the explosion was caused by a 30 mm cannon.

One of the wounded was in serious condition in Colombo hospital.

The Kfir (Young Lion in hebrew) multi-role combat aircrafts form the main offensive component of the SLAF and are extensively used by the SLAF to bomb Liberation Tigers controlled territories.

Kfirs are fitted with GE J-79 engines that can carry a total external payload of 5,500 kg (12,100 pounds).

Katunayake military airbase is situated close to the Katunyake International Airport (KIA).

Further details are not available at the moment.


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