the end of 1970s, the Israel Defense Force perceived that the IAI Kfir was
no solution for future growth. So it announced the requirement for a new
combat aircraft which powered by a much more powerful engine and
compactable to carry more armament. In February 1980, IAI launched the
Lavi program. The development phase was to involve five prototypes, the
B-01/-02 was two-seats trainer, and B-03/-04/-05 were single seated. The
U.S. government was also interested in the program and bore 40%
development cost. The first Lavi (B-01) made its first flight in 1986. The
handling was described as excellent. The second Lavi (B-02) first flight
in 1987 while the U.S. government refused to support the program as the
Lavi was deemed to compete against the F-16C/D on the export market.
In 1988, Israeli government could not continue the project without U.S.
funding, the Lavi program was cancelled. However, IAI used its own finance
to complete the Lavi TD (Technology Demonstrator) by using parts from the
B-01 and B-02. The Lavi TD made it first flight in 1989 and used for
flying testbed until 1998.