Saturday, December 18

Preview: Kinetic Model brings us their new two-sea-ta-Cheetah for 2022

Kinetic Model is promising to bring modellers new and different designs for their 48th scale kits in 2022. Starting with this, the 48th scale Cheetah-D early in the new year. We have CAD images and some of the real aircraft in our preview...

Preview: Kinetic Model brings us their new two-sea-ta-Cheetah for 2022

From Kinetic Model 
Kit No #48081  
1/48th scale 
Available in March.
The Subject: The Atlas Cheetah
During the 1980s, South Africa had difficulty finding arms suppliers because of international sanctions targeting the Apartheid regime. At the same time, the regime faced an insurgency in occupied South West Africa — future Namibia — amplified by the ouster of Portugal’s colonial possessions in the Angolan War of Independence.
In Angola’s post-colonial civil war, Cuba intervened and brought its MiG-23s to the conflict. These sleek fighters were more than a match for the SAAF. So, with Israel’s help, South Africa upgraded its 1960s-vintage, French-made Mirage IIIs while its Mirage F1s — the more capable of the two — stayed in the battle.

The Mach 2.2 Cheetah was based on the Mirage III, a third-generation fighter that had already become obsolete by the time the Cheetah first flew in 1986. But the objective was to build a fighter that could tangle with comparable jets such as the MiG-23, another third-generation fighter, not the fourth-generation jets rapidly proliferating around the world.
How was the Cheetah different from the Mirage III?
Among the changes were new countermeasures and avionics, modifications to the fuselage, new canards — tiny wings forward the main wings, which were also tweaked — and the addition of a refuelling probe. The Cheetah had new ejection seats and a nose modification. Altogether, the improvements meant the Cheetah could not fly as slow as the Mirage III, but the Cheetah had greater agility and could carry three times as many bombs and rockets in weight.

There were different versions of the Cheetah. The Cheetah C, which comprised the bulk of the type in the SAAF, had an ELTA radar, heads-up display and a helmet-mounted sight. 
The Cheetah D was a two-seat trainer. The Cheetah E is an interim single-seat interceptor with fewer upgrades, and the Cheetah R was a planned reconnaissance version that never made it out of the prototype stage.

It’s not clear whether any Cheetahs saw combat — and available sources indicate they didn’t. With the end of Apartheid, the Cheetahs aged in peacetime as South Africa transitioned to democracy, and they eventually worked their way into storage at Denel. Today, the primary SAAF fighter is the Swedish-made JAS 39 Gripen. 
Ecuador remains the only country in the world to still fly Cheetahs in an air force, with 10 Cheetah Cs and two Cheetah Ds comprising one squadron operating since 2009, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The Cheetah was a logical choice for Ecuador, as the country also operates a squadron of similar Kfirs. These two squadrons comprise the entirety of Ecuador’s air-to-air fighter capability.

Ecuador Air Force Cheetah with a pair of cougars (we think they are called)
Peru previously operated Cheetah Es but no longer does, as it has replaced them with the far more capable MiG-29s purchased from Belarus. 

Draken International, a Florida-based company acquired twelve Atlas Cheetah jet fighters from the South African arms company Denel. The addition of the Cheetah will add another warplane type to Draken’s inventory, and could soon see action in mock air-to-air battles with the U.S. military. The Cheetah purchase gives new life to a rare jet that is only still flying in active military service in Ecuador. There is only a handful of them left in the world. Only 70 were built, and it appears that only 24 still exist.

The Kit: Kinetic's 48th scale Cheetah-D
We have several images of CAD  drawings of the Cheetah-D for you, it seems that Kinetic has been hard at work on this one, and we are expecting good things after the Kifr releases were so well done by them.
The project covers the SAAF and Ecuadorian variants with new parts, decals designed by FCM decals and printed by Cartograf. 
The Kinetic Model 48081 Cheetah D in 1/48 scale will be available in March. 
One of the sprues has also surfaced, the wings, nose and ECM pods on the aircraft, most of the main differences that separate it from the Kifr...
The kit is expected in early 2022. You can see more about Kinetic's kits on their website...