Colombia Receives Lockheed Offer for New Fleet of F-16 Fighter Jets
U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, in a deal backed by the public officials in Washington, has offered the Colombian Air Force new proposals to update and modernize its fleet with new fighter jets in a multi-billion-dollar deal, according to Caracol Radio.
The $4.2 billion proposal is reportedly for the Colombian Air Force to acquired 24 new F-16 Block 70 fighter jets worth $108 million per aircraft, while an alternative proposal of roughly $3.1 billion would provide the military with 16 of the same aircraft. Each proposal is said to include the training, inventory, construction of the hangars for the play, runway adaptation, and a flight simulator, and would likely require the Colombian Air Force to update and adapt its bases to the needs of the new planes.
If a proposal is accepted, the first three aircraft are expected to be delivered to Colombia around 2028, with the remaining aircraft being delivered sometime between 2029 and 2030.
The F-16 Block 70 planes, among other things, have advanced APG-83 AESA radar systems, a better Center Pedestal Display to help pilots with their situational awareness, as well as an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System that Lockheed Martin developed to lessen the likelihood of pilot deaths and deadly crashes.
In a separate proposal, Colombia is being offered Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Boeing for $177 million and AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapons from Raytheon for $225 million.
This new proposal comes as the Colombian government has been looking to replace the Colombian Air Force’s current fleet of F-21 Kfir fighter jets. Swedish company Saab AB and Dassault Aviation of France have submitted competing offers in the past that Defense Minister Iván Velásquez had previously considered.
Velásquez and the Colombian government will be waiting for new offers from Saab and Dassault before they are expected to make a decision towards the end of May or June. Previous talks have occurred with the companies but Velásquez said in January that they were unable to come to an agreement during the previous budgeting window.