As part of the process of renewing its transport fleet by replacing the recently-retired Boeing 727, the Colombian Air Force ( Fuerza Aérea Colombiana, FAC) has just incorporated the second of the two Boeing 737-732s purchased at the end of 2021, following delivery of the first in April. The Boeing 737 is a narrow-body aircraft produced by Boeing at its Renton Factory in Washington. One of the aircraft will be modified for electronic intelligence missions, including the installation of equipment from Elbit Systems ordered under a separate $8.9 million contract. The exact system to be used has not been confirmed, but will likely be the Air Keeper suite, as currently used in the force’s EW CN-235. The FAC already operates a 737-74V as a presidential transport, a 737-4S3S and a 737-46BF in Military Transport Command (CATAM).
Two Boeing 737-732 models have been ordered with AAR-group late last year, and both have been noted at Oklahoma City-Will Rogers (OK) recently, where they receive modifications worth around 8 million USD before entering service. The two 737s will be used for transportation with the Comando Aéreo de Transporte Militar (CATAM) from Bogota-El Dorado, and their purchase will likely see the last operational Boeing 727 FAC1204 Vulcano being retired. The two newly acquired 737s were both formerly operated by Delta Air Lines (N306DQ, msn 29633 and N302DQ, msn 29648) and received serials FAC1219 Muisca and FAC1220 respectively. The name of the latter is as of yet unknown to us.
Envisioned in 1964, the initial Boeing 737-100 made its first flight in April 1967 and entered service in February 1968 with Lufthansa. The lengthened 737-200 entered service in April 1968, and evolved through four generations, offering several variants for 85 to 215 passengers. The 737-100/200 original variants were powered by Pratt & Whitney JT8D low-bypass engines and offered seating for 85 to 130 passengers. Launched in 1980 and introduced in 1984, the 737 Classic -300/400/500 variants were upgraded with CFM56-3 turbofans and offered 110 to 168 seats. Introduced in 1997, the 737 Next Generation (NG) -600/700/800/900 variants have updated CFM56-7s, a larger wing and an upgraded glass cockpit, and seat 108 to 215 passengers.
The latest generation, the 737 MAX, 737-7/8/9/10 MAX, powered by improved CFM LEAP-1B high bypass turbofans and accommodating 138 to 204 people, entered service in 2017. Boeing Business Jet versions are produced since the 737NG, as well as military models. As of July 2022, 15,293 Boeing 737s have been ordered and 11,089 delivered. Initially, its main competitor was the McDonnell Douglas DC-9, followed by its MD-80/MD-90 derivatives.It was the highest-selling commercial aircraft until being surpassed by the competing Airbus A320 family in October 2019, but maintains the record in total deliveries. The 737 MAX, designed to compete with the A320neo, was grounded worldwide between March 2019 and November 2020 following two fatal crashes.