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Hardware and Training
Plan Colombia began with a large array of “big-ticket” deliveries of aircraft, boats, weaponry, construction, and other services. The list below the inforgraphic is not comprehensive, but includes the largest transfers that we know about. In more recent years, U.S. grants of major equipment slowed sharply, and Colombia bought many more items with its own funds (helicopters, Super Tucano attack aircraft, drones, Colombian-manufactured Piraña riverine boats). Today, Colombia has the world’s fourth-largest fleet of U.S.-built Black Hawk helicopters, which cost about US$15-20 million apiece and over $5,000 per hour to operate.
For a time in the mid-2000s, aircraft maintenance contracts took up about a third of U.S. military and police assistance. Private contracting firms, like those listed below, performed this and many other duties, including piloting aerial herbicide fumigation aircraft in coca-growing zones, often at significant personal risk.
In addition to equipment, construction, intelligence, and other services, Colombia was one of the world’s top recipients of U.S. training during the post-2000 period. U.S. training, especially in small unit and light infantry tactics, aircraft maintenance, and officer training, for a time made Colombia the second-largest source of U.S. trainees after Iraq and Afghanistan.
A listing of significant items delivered to Colombia appears below this infographic.
U.S.-provided equipment and services during the Plan Colombia years included:
- 33 UH-1N “Huey” helicopters
- 50 UH-II “Huey II” helicopters (including some existing helicopters that were upgraded)
- 20 UH-60 “Black Hawk” helicopters
- An unknown number of “smart bomb” kits for attacks that killed top guerrilla leaders
- 13 armored AT-802 spray planes
- About 11 OV-10 spray planes (including some existing planes that were upgraded)
- T-65 spray planes
- 4 C-27 transport planes
- 2 Grand Caravan transport planes
- 7 surveillance aircraft
- 95 patrol boats
- 8 “Midnight Express” interceptor boats
- 93,362 trainings of military and police personnel 2000-2014
Sources for equipment deliveries:
- U.S. State Department, July 2000
- U.S. Government Accountability Office, October 2005
- U.S. Government Accountability Office, November 2008
- State and Defense Department Foreign Military Training Reports compiled at Security Assistance Monitor
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