By Ricardo Meier
Lockheed Martin has officially proposed the sale of F-16 Block 70 fighters to the Colombian Air Force, according to local outlet Caracol Radio. The offer includes two acquisition options, the first for 24 fighters in a package worth US$4.2 billion (US$108 million per aircraft) and a second option with 16 F-16s for US$3.13 billion (US$3.13 billion). $112 million).
The package also lists items such as training, parts inventory, hangar construction, runway adaptation and a flight simulator for a period of three years. The new proposal also provides for the possibility of supplying AGM-84E Harpoon and AGM-154 anti-ship missiles at an extra cost of US$225 million.
Because they are new aircraft, however, Lockheed Martin’s forecast would be to deliver the first three F-16s only in 2028, with another 17 fighter jets in 2029 and the remaining four in 2030.
The delay in receiving the aircraft would leave the Air Force in a delicate situation since the Kfir fighters are very close to the end of their useful life. An interim solution could be to supply F-16 fighters from US Air Force (USAF) stockpiles until the new jets are delivered.
Colombia had chosen the Dassault Rafale as the preferred fighter for acquisition last year, however, the government intended to slice the acquisition of aircraft, which was not accepted by the French manufacturer. The Saab Gripen E/F is another candidate being considered and in this case the aircraft could be assembled in Brazil by Embraer.