Kfir: the million-dollar bet to acquire 16 Rafale fighters – Conflict and Drug Trafficking – Justice Code List

Colombia would be about to make the largest investment in its history in war material if it decides to acquire 16 Rafale C/F3 fighter jetsmanufactured in France by the Dassault Aviation company.

The objective of the purchase of said fleet is to change the kfir planes -whose useful life expires in December 2023- and leave the country with an air superiority team that guarantees national defense and sovereignty.

(To contextualize, we invite you to read: The keys to the pre-selection of the Rafale as a replacement for the Kfir)

In fact, experts consulted by EL TIEMPO point out that it would also be a purchase of new and non-repowered assets, which would guarantee a useful life of the aircraft between 30 and 40 years.

(Surely you are interested in reading: The powerful war planes with which Colombia would replace the Kfir)

This week, when the defense minister, Ivan Velasquezconfirmed that the Rafale had been shortlisted, voices were immediately heard in favor and against about the possible investment, for which the minister clarified that since May of this year (government of Iván Duque) there was a game for that purpose approved in Compes 4078, for 678 million dollars.

In this line, Velásquez assured that in the midst of the pre-negotiations they seek to specify a grace period of at least five years, so that this government does not have to invest and thus the president gustavo petro The social programs to which it committed, as well as the resources of the tax reform, are not affected.

(We invite you to read: These are the three powerful combat aircraft that would replace the Kfir)

For his part, the commander of the Air Force, General Luis Carlos Córdoba Avendaño, who has been in charge of the pre-selection process, said that the negotiation would be between 2,400 and 2,500 million euros and that he hopes that in two or three years the first Rafale will arrive, between 3 or 5 devices.

The Kfir fighter jet fleet reaches its service life in December 2023.


Colombian Air Force, FAC.

In this order of ideas, sources close to the process confirmed to this newspaper that since the name of the shortlisted company was made public, three closed-door meetings have been held at the Air Force headquarters in Bogotá between the technical committee (officials, pilots, technicians, mechanics and lawyers from the FAC) and Dassault Aviation representatives who are in the country.

On the other hand, FAC sources told this newspaper: “We did not expect the Rafale to be shortlisted because of its cost, but we are happy because it is a maximum power aircraft”.

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The experts consulted, retired generals and who at that time were FAC commanders, agreed that any of the four bidding companies –Lockheed Martin, from the United States, with its F-16s (viper block 70); Saab, from Sweden, with its Gripen E/F; Dassault Aviation, with Rafale C/F3, and Eurofighter, from Spain, with its Typhoon (C.16), comply with the highest quality standards and that the company that finally obtains the insurance contract will also comply with the technology transfer through so-called clearing systems.

The best fleet on the continent

“Neighbourhood fighter jets and with the best air superiority fleet in quality, but not in quantity.”

For him General (r) Tito Saúl PinillaIt is important to acquire aircraft that meet the needs of the country in defense of sovereignty, but without forgetting public order issues”,because the presence of illegal armed groups such as the guerrilla cannot be ignored“, he pointed.

Pinilla reiterated that the pre-selection of the company is not overnight and that it is a process that takes between 10 and 12 years, so Colombians should see it as the “acquisition of insurance, which is used when it is needed ”.
He said that given the dynamics of the current government, this investment should be seen as a contribution “to ‘total peace’.”

(You may be interested in reading: Drones and ART, the secret weapons of the FAC to maintain national security)

For his part, he General (r) Guillermo Leon Leon assured that if the purchase of the Rafale is confirmed, Colombia could “Neighbourhood fighter jets and with the best air superiority fleet in quality, but not in quantity.”

According to León, to cite two examples, Chile has about 36 F-16 planes and Venezuela “with 22 Sukhoi and about 12 old F-16 planes. Our fleet would be small, but of great capacity, ”he noted.

The FAC combat planes and freighters crossed the skies of Bogotá.


Hector Fabio Zamora. TIME

Kfir vs. Rafale

The former commander of the FAC said that Colombia “does not think of an arms race to respond to a war conflict”, and made a comparison between the Kfir and the Rafale, pointing out that the French almost doubled their flight range and that in a reaction operation they could depart from the Palanquero base to Leticia or San Andrés, fly over the point and return without need of the landing of a tanker plane or the escort of the tanker plane.

flight hour value
In addition to fuel savings, because, says the general, an hour of flight in a Kfir exceeds 80 million pesos, while with a Rafale the cost per hour would be 40 or 45 million pesos.

(We invite you to read: Colombia will have a second satellite in orbit at the end of the year)

Regarding maneuverability in case of combat reaction, the Kfir support a force of gravity between 6 and 7, the Rafale between 9 and 11, assured León, “which allows you to demand more from the plane without fear of it collapsing”.

According to the retiree, another advantage of the Rafale is that they need a minimum runway for their landing and takeoff, which allows them to expand to air terminals such as Montería or Neiva, where today it is impossible for a Kfir to arrive.

For him General (r) Hector Fabio VelascoColombia is not exempt from a conflict “before neighbors with a tendency towards the regime”, so in his opinion “risks cannot be taken”, and he cited the current situation in Ukraine.

(For context, you may be interested in reading: F-16 aircraft from the US and Kfir from Colombia carry out military exercises)

For this reason, he pointed out that the FAC pilots receive basic preparation, then they ascend to the piloting level of the Tucano and Super Tucano and arrive at the Kfir, for which “the latter must be the ones chosen to train in the simulators and those who must travel to France to prepare in the Rafale, every hour of flight counts”.

The ‘lobby’ was increased

Since there is no signed contract, the other three bidding companies maintain the possibility and have sought new approaches with the FAC.

Two of them spoke, Lockheed Martin, which offers the F-16s, said it stands ready to partner with and support the country as “its future security requirements” are evaluated, adding that “any additional questions about possible sales of military personnel in abroad should be directed to the Government of the United States.”

(For context, we invite you to read: Kfir: this is what the other bidders say after the pre-selection of Rafale aircraft)

For its part, the Saab company, manufacturer of the Gripen E/F, indicated that it recognizes the government’s announcement and indicates that the country would have decided to acquire the “most expensive combat plane on the market, putting Colombians at risk of paying 1,100 million of euros in excess (5.6 trillion pesos)”.

Deputy Director of Justice

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