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Colombia military to get US$4 billion upgrade

February 3, 2009

Colombia’s military will purchase roughly US$4 billion in military hardware including aircrafts, armored vehicles and small arms to upgrade and modernize its armed forces, El Tiempo reported last week.

Thus Panamerican Defense already reported about the submarine and some of the helicopter deals, there is more coming.

The upgrade will modernize several branches of the Colombian armed forces by supplying new military hardware, which will include naval vessels (and submarines)  from France and Germany, and 25 training aircraft to be assembled in Colombia, said Vice Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón.

And in March the Air Force will receive four Israeli-built KFir fighter jets, the first shipment of a total of 24 of the aircraft to be delivered new or reconditioned and modernized, Pinzón said.

The deal, to be financed through a special tax earlier decreed by the government, also includes 30 armored vehicles, 12 attack helicopters, 60 fast boats and other vessels, and Caravan and Super King aircraft. Through an accord with a U.S. manufacture, 25 training aircraft will be built in Colombia, Pinzón said.

An unspecified amount of unmanned aircraft are also included in the deal.

The deal also effectively makes Colombia an arms manufacturer — and the only builder in the world to make Israeli-designed Galil rifles to be used as the official rifle of the Colombian soldier.

“One of the conversations we had with IMI (Israeli Military Industries, Ltd, the designer of the rifles) is to see the possibility to make ourselves a factory, or at least in part, for the next generation of Galil assault rifles,” Pinzón said.

Through compensation agreements with international corporations, Colombia will receive the equivalent of $1.2 billion U.S. throughout 10 years reflected in trading technology and trading of knowledge and education. These agreements have been reached with important industries in Israel, the United States and France.

This DID article provided more information about these issues, and useful comparatives to analyze.

Links: Colombia Reports | Defense Industry Daily

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