Dassault Rafale twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft
Dassault Rafale twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft

Colombia Selects Dassault Rafale Fighter Aircraft Over Saab Gripen and Lockheed Martin F-16

Colombia has shortlisted a French bid to sell 16 Rafale fighter aircrafts to the South American nation for up to $3.15 billion. Aside from the French offer, Colombia considered two other bids from the United States and Sweden, which offered deals for Lockheed Martin F-16 and Saab Gripen fighter aircraft, respectively. Colombian Air Force (FAC, Fuerza Aérea Colombiana) wants to replace the Israeli-made Kfir aircraft it acquired in the late 1980s, and would use the new planes to defend its territory and conduct aerial surveillance. The Columbian Presidency stated there are no contracts signed, this is a preliminary negotiation. The cost of the fighter aircrafts will be paid after 5 years as they would not want to compromise on social expenditures.

The Colombian Air Force is the air force of the Republic of Colombia. The Colombian Air Force is one of the three institutions of the Military Forces of Colombia charged, according to the 1991 Constitution, working to exercise and maintain control of Colombia’s airspace and to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and constitutional order. It is one of the largest air forces in the Americas (after the United States, Brazil and Peru) and has increased its activity due to important roles in the fight against narco-terrorism. Its main force includes 21 IAI Kfirs as defense fighters and 14 Cessna A-37 Dragonfly plus 24 Embraer 314 Super Tucano for counterinsurgency.

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Colombian Air Force IAI Kfir all-weather multirole combat aircraft.
Colombian Air Force IAI Kfir all-weather multirole combat aircraft. (Photo Colombian Air Force)

The Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir (Lion Cub) is an Israeli all-weather multirole combat aircraft based on the French Dassault Mirage 5, with Israeli avionics and an Israeli-built version of the General Electric J79 turbojet engine. Domestic production would avoid the problem of the embargo completely; efforts to reverse engineer and reproduce components of the Mirage were aided by Israeli espionage efforts to obtain technical assistance and blueprints from third party Mirage operators. The J79 was selected, which the Israelis began to acquire from the United States in 1969, along with a license to produce the J79 themselves. The J79 was clearly superior to the original French Atar 09, providing a dry thrust of 49 kN (11,000 lbf) and an afterburning thrust of 83.4 kN (18,750 lbf).

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault. Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Egyptian Air Force, the Indian Air Force, the Qatar Air Force, the Hellenic Air Force, the Croatian Air Force, the Indonesian Air Force and the United Arab Emirates Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.

French Navy Dassault Rafale multirole carrier fighter aircraft.
French Navy Dassault Rafale multirole carrier fighter aircraft. (Photo by Dassault Aviation)

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