Colombia has finally decided to launch an international tender open to countries that have fighter aircraft for sale and are able to deliver them quickly.
Colombia announced in December its intention to buy 16 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation to replace its Kfir aircraft, which have reached the end of their useful life.
This announcement came as a surprise to many observers, as Colombia's new president, Gustavo Petro, had promised that economic and social reforms would come before such a purchase. However, according to a statement from the Colombian presidency, "the operation and maintenance of Kfir is expensive and can be risky. Colombia is practically the only operator of the Kfir platform today, which means that there is no longer any production of aircraft or spare parts, i.e., it is an unsustainable capability."
The U.S. offered used F-16s, while Saab offered its Gripen, but the Rafale was chosen due to economic and political considerations. Bogotá has begun discussions with Dassault Aviation to reach an agreement by the end of 2022, with a total budget of $3 billion earmarked for the purchase, which will be paid for five years after the contract is signed so as not to affect the resources needed for social spending. However, negotiations failed with the French and the Swedes, who wanted to negotiate for a total of 16 aircraft instead of 3 to 5 aircraft with the budget approved by the previous government.
So, Colombia has launched an international tender open to countries that have fighter jets for sale and are able to deliver them quickly.
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