Colombia’s military upgrade gains momentum
Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009
Earlier this year the Colombian government revealed that it intends to carry out a large scale modernisation of its military worth some $4 billion. The modernization will take place in several branches of the Colombian armed forces and includes the purchase of hardware from the U.S., Europe, Israel and Russia.
Vice Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón said that the military will receive new German and French-build naval vessels and submarines as well as 25 training aircraft which are to be assembled in Colombia. Mr Pinzón said that the armed forces will receive 15 Black Hawk helicopters as well as five Russian-made MI-17 helicopters by end of this year. This year will also see the delivery of 20 105mm artillery canons as well as the 24 Israeli-built KFir fighter jets the Vice Minister said.
The entire upgrade programme decreed by the government, also includes 30 armored vehicles, 12 additionally Arpia III attack helicopters, 60 fast boats and other navy vessels, as well as small arms and Caravan and Super King aircraft. An unspecified amount of unmanned aircraft (UAV) is also included in the deal. Other equipment such as two Columbian U-209 („A.R.C. Pijao“ and „A.R.C. Tayrona“) will be modernised.
Arpia III is the prime attack helicopter from the Colombian Air Force. The aircraft is an indigenous Sikorsky-build UH-60 Blackhawk design with GAU-19, LAU-19, radar, FLIR, and HUD. The Arpia IV which is passing tests in Israel right now may also be considered as the new attack helicopter. This aircraft could be armed with a 20mm Chain gun, Anti-tank missiles such as Spike and Hidra rockets.
In a special deal with Israeli Military Industries (IMI), Colombia will nationally build the new official rifle, the Israeli-designed Galil.
Source: Defense Professionals
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