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Air Platforms

Expodefensa 2019: Saab says Colombia wants new fighters, in a break from past practice

04 December 2019
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Key Points

  • A Saab executive said that Colombia wants to buy new fighters to help reinvigorate its fleet
  • The nation has traditionally purchased used aircraft, which can come with sustainment issues

The Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana: FAC) wants to procure new fighter aircraft to rejuvenate its fleet, a move that would break from past practices of procuring used fighters, according to an industry official.

“The requirement and the will from the FAC, at this stage, is extremely clear,” Thomas Linden, Saab Colombia vice president, told Jane’s on 3 December at the Expodefensa trade show in Bogota. “They do not want to go back and buy used aircraft as they have done before a couple of times.”

A model of Saab's Gripen E being developed for Brazil and Sweden on display at Expodefensa 2019. (Jane's/Pat Host)A model of Saab's Gripen E being developed for Brazil and Sweden on display at Expodefensa 2019. (Jane's/Pat Host)

Linden said the FAC is taking a longer-term perspective and wants to improve its fleet based on new technology. He said that used aircraft procurement usually bring problems such as logistics and spares supplies.

The FAC has 19 Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir C10s and 3 Kfir TC12s, according to Jane’s World Air Forces .

Saab offered 12 single-seat Gripen Es and three dual-seat Gripen Fs, the same models being built for Brazil and Sweden. He said Saab is offering 15 aircraft because this is the existing requirement, despite being fewer aircraft than the 22 Kfirs being operated by the air force.

Linden said the FAC announced in August that it was looking at three contenders: the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Gripen, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. IAI told Jane’s at the Paris Air Show in June that it would offer a further enhanced Kfir NG that could be based on remanufactured FAC airframes, surplus Israeli Air Force airframes, or possibly even new-build ones depending on the requirements.

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