The Colombian Air Force will maintain the fighter renewal program started several years ago and which until now remained undefined. According to Defense News, citing sources in Bogotá, the military command managed to convince the country’s new president, Gustavo Petro, of the need to replace the Kfir fighter jets.
Until then, as a candidate, Petro considered the acquisition of combat aircraft to be superfluous in the face of Colombia’s social challenges.
The Air Force currently operates a fleet of around 20 Israeli Kfir fighter jets, which were modernized between 2009 and 2017. Despite this, the aircraft are scheduled to be withdrawn from service in late 2022.
In recent years, Colombia has received several proposals from fighter jet manufacturers. Airbus even offered 15 second-hand Eurofighter Typhoon while Dassault reportedly proposed an order for new Rafales.
Saab, in turn, even considered a sale in partnership with Embraer, taking advantage of the Brazilian order for the Gripen E/F. Finally, Lockheed Martin competes with the F-16V.
According to Defense News, the Colombian military has a preference for a single-engine fighter, namely the F-16 or the Gripen. The leftist stance of Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla movement, weighs against the US fighter.
Due to budget constraints, the order should be smaller, possibly a batch of 12 aircraft.