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IAI Lavi (Young Lion)

4th Generation Multirole Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator

IAI Lavi (Young Lion)

4th Generation Multirole Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



Just three prototypes were all that became of the Israeli IAI Lavi multirole fighter program of the 1980s.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Israel
YEAR: 1986
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) - Israel
PRODUCTION: 3
OPERATORS: Israel (cancelled)
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the IAI Lavi (Young Lion) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 2
LENGTH: 47.77 feet (14.56 meters)
WIDTH: 28.81 feet (8.78 meters)
HEIGHT: 15.68 feet (4.78 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 15,498 pounds (7,030 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 42,505 pounds (19,280 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Pratt & Whitney PW1120 afterburning turbofan engine developing 20,600lb thrust.
SPEED (MAX): 1,221 miles-per-hour (1965 kilometers-per-hour; 1,061 knots)
RANGE: 2,299 miles (3,700 kilometers; 1,998 nautical miles)
CEILING: 50,000 feet (15,240 meters; 9.47 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 50,000 feet-per-minute (15,240 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



STANDARD:
1 x 30mm DEFA internal cannon

OPTIONAL:
Up to 16,000lb of externally-held stores held across eleven total hardpoints - seven under-fuselage and four-underwing as well as wingtip mounts (wingtip mounts reserved for short-ranged AAMs only).
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• Lavi - Base Series Name; three prototypes completed.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the IAI Lavi (Young Lion) 4th Generation Multirole Fighter Prototype / Technology Demonstrator.  Entry last updated on 10/16/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
In the late 1970s, Israeli thinking began to focus on upgrading its stock of aging Douglas A-4 "Skyhawk" and IAI "Kfir" fighters / fighter-bombers through a more modern design centered on low-cost and low-complexity. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) requirement was for three hundred such aircraft with a collection of these to include two-seat trainer types. As Israel lived in a constant state of war with its Arab neighbors, time was of the essence.

Development began in early 1980 and the general design was initially influenced directly by IAF input. The new lightweight aircraft would carry inherent ground attack functionality while retaining full air-to-air combat capabilities and there grew the possibility to evolve the design into an advanced jet trainer. It was hoped that much of the aircraft could be developed and produced locally to help make Israel militarily more self-sufficient (and add to its economic power). Because of experience with Pratt & Whitney engines in other IAF aircraft, this brand would power the new jet.

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) had a history producing sound, viable military platforms for the IAF and the company headed development of what became known as the "Lavi" ("Young Lion" in Hebrew). Engineers elected for a "canard delta" planform in which the wing mainplanes were of considerable surface area so as to negate the need for horizontal tailplanes. Canards, small, variable-angle wings were affixed ahead of the mainplanes near the cockpit offering exceptional agility. The nose assembly was well-pointed and housed radar with the cockpit seated aft of this under a large, clear canopy offering excellent vision. The fuselage became well-contoured for extreme aerodynamic efficiency and large ventral strakes were fitted under the tail with a single vertical fin over it. Powered by a single turbofan engine, a single exhaust port was featured at rear with a ventral intake located under the cockpit floor. The undercarriage was of a conventional tricycle arrangement. An integral in-flight refueling probe was to become a standard fit for the aircraft. Composites were used in about 22% of the aircraft's construction.

The wing mainplanes were given sweepback along both their leading and trailing edges - the former more so than the latter. Wingtips were reserved for short-range Air-to-Air MIssiles (AAMs) of the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" family or similar. The large-area wings also promoted multiple (eleven total with five under-fuselage and four under-wing) weapon stations supporting munitions from the Israeli inventory - mainly with a Western flavor. Some positions, mainly the centerline mount, was plumbed for jettisonable fuel tanks for extended ranges. Beyond its fixed 30mm DEFA internal cannon, the aircraft was slated to carry upwards of 16,000 pounds of externally-held stores in the way of AAMs, ASMs, conventional drop ordnance and rocket pods.




The form of the Lavi was very much in tune with that of the American General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 "Fighting Falcon" save for the use of a delta-wing configuration (it was also lighter and dimensionally smaller). Many other design qualities seemed to come from the F-16 which is of no surprise - the IAF adopted the lightweight multirole fighter and put it through its paces in the many Israeli-Arab conflicts in the decades that followed. The United States also served as a major partner to the Lavi's development. The F-16 - along with the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 "Eagle" still form the primary over-battlefield component of the IAF pending the arrival of more advanced types such as the Lockheed F-35 "Lightning II".

Three Lavi prototypes were eventually completed - the first two representing a two-seat form (the remaining three were to mark single-seat models). A first flight was had on December 31st, 1986 and the second prototype followed into the air in March of 1987. Power came from a single Pratt & Whitney PW1120 afterburning turbofan engine developing 20,600 pounds of thrust, providing for a maximum speed of 1,220 miles per hour, a range out to 2,300 miles, a service ceiling of 50,000 feet and a rate-of-climb reaching 50,000 feet-per-minute. Digital Fly-By-Wire (FBW) controlling made the inherently unstable delta canard configuration flyable and highly agile. The aircraft was powerful, fast and could present a formidable multi-role player in the inventory of the IAF.

Despite the steam being gained by the Lavi project, there were those within the Israeli ranks that did not champion the product as they saw the existing, readily-available F-16 could already accomplish all that was to be handled by the Lavi. Additionally, there were elements within the United States government and defense industry, particularly competing aviation concerns, that saw the Lavi as a direct threat to the global market share - particularly if Israel had decided to showcase its new aircraft on the world stage.

Under political pressure from the United States, a vote was held by the Israeli government which saw the Lavi narrowly cancelled. The United States rewarded the country by offering concessions through future military deals as well as continued regional support. This then led to the procurement of ninety F-16 (C-models) Fighting Falcons and effectively ended the Lavi program in 1987 - leaving just two prototypes and three incomplete airframes to show for the work. A third prototype joined the stock when parts from the forth and fifth airframe were cannibalized. This addition was used solely in the technology demonstration role to trial and evaluate key systems and subsystems used in other programs. The two remaining prototypes were saved from the scrapman's torch by becoming preserved showpieces.

Some industry analysts since have found similarities with the abandoned Lavi product in the relatively new Chengdu "J-10" multi-role fighter adopted by the Chinese Air Force, sparking talk of technology transfers between the two countries (the Lavi featured some protected American systems). There has been no official word as to whether a formal partnership deal had been struck by the sides and there probably never will be but a side-by-side comparison certainly showcases some similarities between the designs - even if they are superficial.




MEDIA







General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating (BETA)
74
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1300mph
Lo: 650mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,221mph).

    Graph average of 975 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
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  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the IAI Lavi (Young Lion)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
3
3

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.