A web presentation from the Washington Office on Latin America

WOLA logo 15th Anniversary of Plan Colombia: Learning from its Successes and Failures

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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.

This image first lists the 14 contractors that delivered $217 million in Plan Colombia military aid in 2009. It then reproduces a U.S. Army photo of six Colombia-purchased Black Hawk helicopters awaiting delivery in 2013. This is followed by a year-by-year chart of the 93,362 trainings of Colombian military and police personnel between 2000 and 2014.

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:

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