Colombia pauses negotiations again on Kfir fleet replacement
Colombia’s Minister of Defence Iván Velásquez announced on 2 January that negotiations to replace the Colombian Air Force’s (FAC's) fleet of IAI Kfir C10/12 multirole combat aircraft have stalled. As a result, the FAC will have to continue flying its ageing warplanes for the foreseeable future.
A governmental directive (known locally as CONPES 4078) approved by the previous Duque administration expired on 31 December. The minister explained that a new directive needs to be approved by the current Petro administration for negotiations to commence again.
He further explained to the Colombian daily El Tiempo in a 3 January interview that the previous CONPES allocated $678 million 'for the purchase of aircraft, which is much less than what a fleet of 16 warplanes costs'. Velásquez did not disclose when a new CONPES directive might be drafted.
In the meantime, the FAC will continue flying its Kfir fleet. Velásquez noted that this year the service will select which Kfir aircraft will be decommissioned due to their age. 'It is possible to provide maintenance for some aircraft with parts from the decommissioned planes,' he told Colombian media.
The Kfirs are the tip of the spear of the FAC’s aerial warfighting capabilities. The service also operates fixed-wing light attack aircraft, including the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light and Cessna A-37 Dragonfly.
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