02 Jan 23. Frontex launches EUR950,000 low flying objects detection competition. Frontex – the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – has launched a competition around the Detection of Low Flying Objects (DeLFO). Frontex invites the participants to carefully read all the documentation that is available on the Prize Award Contest website: https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/prize-contest/
The main challenge for this Prize Award Contest on the Detection of Low Flying Objects is: Considering the existing technological solutions available in the market (or those currently under development) and their potential combination in a multi-layered, multi-sensor model, how can Low Flying Objects be effectively detected, tracked, and identified in a European land border, in a cost-efficient, scalable and integrated way?
The ultimate goal of this Prize Award Contest is to provide an opportunity for selected industry participants to deploy and test their proposed technological solutions in a testing environment, which will simulate a section of an EU land border. This real-world area will create unique conditions for comprehensive Testing and Evaluation, provided free of cost for participants. Applicants are encouraged to develop a participation strategy to this Prize Award Contest that ultimately aims at being selected for Phase 3 (Operational Trials) where they can demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed solution to monitor a hypothetical surveillance volume. This volume is defined as 5 kilometres in length, 1 kilometre in depth and 1000ft in height (from ground level).
Deadline for submissions is February 15, 2023 and the total available prize budget is EUR 950 000. Frontex shall award financial rewards to participants that comply with the requirements and meet or surpass the criteria laid out in in this document. Frontex shall award the following prizes per phase:
- PHASE 1 A prize of EUR 10 000 up to the ten (10) best ranked proposals.
- PHASE 2 A prize of EUR 50 000 up to the five (5) best ranked presentations of technical capacity.
- PHASE 3 A grand prize of EUR 250 000 to the best ranked participant, EUR 200 000 to the second-best ranked participant and EUR 150 000 to the third-best ranked participant.
The exact specifications of the testing areas will be shared at a later stage. During all phases, participants shall be guided by the Challenge, to answer the following aspects:
- What are the capabilities of the proposed technological solution to detect, track and identify Low Flying Objects?
- How is the multi-layered approach designed (concept and architecture)?
- What is the deployment mobility (fixed, deployable/mobile, vehicular, portable, or any combination of these)?
- What are the logistical support requirements (off-the-grid, limited infrastructure, access to public utilities)?
- How does the solution expected to perform in degraded operating conditions (local operational conditions, terrain, wildlife bird activity, weather, and RF interference)?
- What is the level of integration (how are different systems integrated; high-level, low-level)?
- What is the technological maturity of the overall proposed solution?
- How is the proposed solution innovative?
For more information: https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/prize-contest/ (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
30 Dec 22. Latvia is significantly strengthening its defence capabilities by investing in both the material and technical support of the Armed Forces. In 2022, Latvia significantly strengthened the state’s defence capabilities by investing in both the material and technical support of the National Armed Forces and the improvement of the professionalism of soldiers and national guards.
“Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine made Europe see the true face of Russia and its imperialist ambitions. We Baltics had no illusions about it. Latvia is strengthening its national defence capabilities through close cooperation with our allies. In 2023, we must take a step further, creating the understanding of every citizen of Latvia about his role and responsibility in the defence of the country,” says Minister of Defence Ināra Mūrniece.
This year, 2,271 new National Guardsmen were admitted to the ranks of the National Guard, which is three times more than in 2021. Currently, the number of National Guards in Latvia has approached the 10,000 mark. On the other hand, 407 Latvian citizens were recruited for the professional service of the National Armed Forces and for studies at the National Defence Academy.
In 2022, the national armed forces conducted approximately 120 military exercises, including exercises with soldiers from NATO allies. Also, the Latvian armed forces have had good experience in the status of the receiving country, because in addition to the permanent NATO extended presence battle group, soldiers from the USA and Denmark were also received in Latvia.
While developing combat capabilities, the ground forces continued the mechanisation project by ordering more than 200 Patria 6×6 armoured personnel carriers, which are being manufactured in Latvia. In turn, the Air Force received the first two of the four UH-60M Black Hawk US helicopters ordered by Latvia in December of this year. Also, the air defence capabilities of the armed forces have been strengthened by ordering the RBS-70 NG systems and 1X fire control radars produced by the Saab company. The indirect fire support capability is being purposefully strengthened through the acquisition of mortar ammunition and vehicles, as well as the acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles.
30 Dec 22. Airbus to sign for Spanish C295 MPA in early 2023, also pitches MSA variant. Airbus is close to finalising a C295 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) development contract with Spain, at the same time as pitching a maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) variant to the country. Speaking at Airbus’ annual Trade Media Briefing, held in Madrid in mid-December, Jean-Brice Dumont, head of Military Air Systems, said that, with the C295 MPA scheduled to replace the Lockheed P-3 Orion that is being retired by the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE) at the end of 2022, a contract is anticipated in the first quarter of 2023. Separately, he said Airbus is proposing a C295 MSA to replace the service’s CN235 MSA platform. (Source: Janes)
29 Dec 22. Airbus anticipates future Eurofighter buy from Spain. Airbus is confident that Spain will order further Eurofighter (C.16 in national service) combat aircraft, in addition to the Project Halcon jets contracted earlier in 2022. Speaking in Madrid in mid-December, Jean-Brice Dumont, head of Military Air Systems, said that, with the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE) having signed for Tranche 4 jets under Project Halcon in June, a follow-on buy of either Tranche 4 or Tranche 5 Eurofighters is expected. As a consortium partner country, Spain currently fields 70 Tranche 1 to Tranche 3 Eurofighters, with a further 20 Tranche 4 aircraft to be received under Project Halcon. With the EdAE looking to replace all of its Boeing EF-18 Hornet (C.15) aircraft in the coming years, it has a requirement for as many as 60 new aircraft (assuming a 1:1 replacement) that could be fully or partially satisfied with Tranche 4 or Tranche 5 Eurofighters, depending on the procurement timeline. (Source: Janes)
29 Dec 22. Austria exercises option for 18 further AW169 helicopters. Austria has signed a declaration of intent (DOI) with Italy to acquire an additional 18 Leonardo AW169 medium-twin helicopters. Austrian Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner and her Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto signed the DOI on 21 December, during a ceremony to mark the arrival of the first of the initial batch of 18 helicopters at Langenlebarn Air Base, north of Vienna. The DOI is part of a wider raft of increased defence co-operation between the two countries that also covers further engineering activities on Austrian-defined military equipment, further synthetic pilot training in Italy, and logistical services beyond the initial support package. With the first AW169 now delivered, the second is scheduled to arrive in Austria in February 2023. Janes was told that some of the helicopters will be equipped with a weapons package that will consist of 12.7mm heavy machine gun pods, 70mm unguided and laser-guided rockets, as well as an electro-optic/infrared sensor. (Source: Janes)
30 Dec 22. Army seeks mid-range missile to cover operational gaps.
A Norwegian soldier fuels up a vehicle carrying radar to a NASAMS air-defense system during winter exercise Joint Viking 2017 in Finnmark, Norway.
The Missile Defense Agency is considering new technologies – coupled with current capabilities – to protect Guam from future threats from adversaries.
As the ballistic missile threats from China continue to evolve, the Army has several capabilities in place to defend the island of Guam. The service’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery has been operating there since 2013.
In fiscal year 2022, the agency, at the urging of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, requested $78.3 million to analyze systems to defend Guam and another $40 million to acquire long-lead items, originally reported by Army Times sister publication Defense News
Congress ultimately approved $80 million to accelerate arming Guam, including with the Patriot air-and-missile defense system and the Navy’s SM-6 and SM-3 missiles.
But a changing adversary means the service must develop further its own capabilities. The service is looking toward a more mobile architecture, one that can use mobile launchers.
One of those new technologies is the Mid-Range Capability missile. The missile will be fielded in 2023, more than two years since the Army announced that the service would pursue the capability.
The Army chose Lockheed Martin to integrate the Navy’s SM-6 and Tomahawk missiles with a launcher and battery operations center to create an MRC prototype back in November 2020.
(Source: Defense News)
30 Dec 22. Pentagon and Lockheed Martin Finalize Lot 15-17 Agreement, Capping a Year of International Growth. The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have finalized the contract for the production and delivery for up to 398 F-35s for $30 billion, including U.S., international partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) aircraft in Lots 15 and 16, with the option for Lot 17.
“The F-35 delivers unsurpassed capability to our warfighters and operational commanders,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer, F-35 Joint Program Office. “This contract strikes the right balance between what’s best for the U.S. taxpayers, military services, allies and our foreign military sales customers. The F-35 is the world’s premier multi-mission, 5th-generation weapon system, and the modernized Block 4 capabilities these new aircraft will bring to bear strengthens not just capability, but interoperability with our allies and partners across land, sea, air and cyber domains.”
The agreement includes 145 aircraft for Lot 15, 127 for Lot 16, and up to 126 for the Lot 17 contract option, including the first F-35 aircraft for Belgium, Finland and Poland.
Lot 15-17 aircraft will be the first to include Technical Refresh-3 (TR-3), the modernized hardware needed to power Block 4 capabilities. TR-3 includes a new integrated core processor with greater computing power, a panoramic cockpit display and an enhanced memory unit.
These aircraft will add to the growing global fleet, currently at 894 aircraft after 141 deliveries this year. The F-35 team was on track to meet the commitment of 148 aircraft as planned; however, due to a temporary pause in flight operations, which is still in effect, necessary acceptance flight tests could not be performed.
The finalized contract caps off a year of the F-35 delivering combat-proven airpower around the world and continued international growth. This year, Finland, Germany and Switzerland signed Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs) as an important step in their procurement of F-35 aircraft.
“Continuing to add new countries to our global F-35 fleet further validates the capability and affordability of this aircraft in providing 21st Century Security to nations and allies,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, F-35 Program. “There is simply no other aircraft that can do all that the F-35 does to defeat and deter even the most advanced threats.”
F-35 program participants currently include 17 countries. To date, more than 1,870 pilots and 13,500 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 602,000 cumulative flight hours.
28 Dec 22. Sikorsky challenges US Army’s helicopter award. Sikorsky has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office over the U.S. Army’s contract award to Textron’s Bell to build the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, expected to be the service’s largest helicopter procurement in 40 years. The GAO confirmed it has an “open protest filed today [Dec. 28] by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation challenging the award of the Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).” The government watchdog noted it is required to issue a decision no later than April 7, 2023.
The FLRAA competition pitted two aircraft head to head: Bell’s V-280 Valor, a tiltrotor aircraft, and Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky and Boeing’s Defiant X, which features coaxial rotor blades. Both aircraft were designed to fit into the same footprint as a Black Hawk.
Paul Lemmo, Sikorsky’s president, said in a statement the team conducted “a thorough review of the information and feedback provided by the Army.”
“The data and discussions lead us to believe the proposals were not consistently evaluated to deliver the best value in the interest of the Army, our soldiers and American taxpayers,” he said.
The deal for the next-generation helicopter is worth up to $1.3bn and is set to replace about 2,000 Black Hawk utility helicopters. FLRAA will not serve as a 1-to-1 replacement for existing aircraft, but it will take over the roles of the Black Hawk — long the workhorse of the Army for getting troops to and around the battlefield — around 2030.
The engineering and manufacturing development as well as the low-rate production phase could be worth roughly $7 bn. If the full complement of aircraft are purchased across the entire life of the fleet, the program could be worth around $70 bn to include potential foreign military sales, the Army’s program executive officer for aviation, Maj. Gen. Rob Barrie, said during a Dec. 5 media roundtable following the Army’s selection of Bell.
Army officials said the service sought to ensure the FLRAA program decision would be unassailable. Yet, Army acquisition chief Doug Bush said during the Dec. 5 briefing that the service “anticipated [a protest] potentially happening and [has] accounted for that in our timelines.”
In a statement Wednesday, an Army spokesman said the service “will comply with GAO requirements,” adding that the Army will not be making further comment. Bell did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Source: News Now/ Defense News))
27 Dec 22. Congress tells Air Force to upgrade skiplanes as Arctic heats up. Congress is urging the Air Force to start sketching out what it needs in a future fleet of skiplanes to help protect the Arctic.
Lawmakers want to get a head start on designing a new set of C-130 airframes that could replace the service’s LC-130H Hercules, also known as the “Skibirds.”
Proactively swapping out the polar airlift fleet could help the U.S. keep pace with Russian and Chinese expansion in the Arctic, according to a provision tucked into the fiscal 2023 omnibus spending bill.
“Given the ever-increasing importance of the polar regions in our National Defense Strategy, and our adversaries’ excursion into those regions, the Congress believes that this vital capability must be maintained, modernized and eventually replaced in an appropriate and timely fashion,” the legislation said.
The $1.7trn appropriations package cleared Congress on Dec. 23. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law ahead of the Friday deadline to fund the government.
The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing owns 10 LC-130H planes that differ from the rest of the cargo fleet in one significant way: giant, Teflon-coated skis allow the aircraft to land on ice and snow. The skiplanes regularly travel to Greenland and Antarctica in support of homeland defense missions and scientific expeditions.
C-130Hs first entered service in the 1960s; the Air Force is now outfitting the skiplanes with modern avionics and engines.
The U.S. military’s northernmost outpost at Thule Air Base, Greenland, relies on the fleet to ferry troops and supplies above the Arctic Circle. Thule hosts missile warning, missile defense and space surveillance operations now run by the Space Force.
U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Russia and China are establishing operations across the Arctic, as well as how global warming could transform polar sea lanes for commercial and military use.
In October, the White House released a 10-year strategy for handling global competition in the Arctic that pushes for a greater U.S. military presence, modernizing air defenses and icebreakers, and improving maps of the area.
“The United States will enhance and exercise both our military and civilian capabilities in the Arctic as required to deter threats and to anticipate, prevent, and respond to both natural and human-made incidents,” the strategy said. “We will deepen cooperation with Arctic allies and partners in support of these objectives and to manage risks of further militarization or unintended conflict, including those resulting from geopolitical tensions with Russia.”
C-130Js can fly faster than 400 mph and up to 28,000 feet — slightly faster and higher than older models — and carry 42,000 pounds of cargo, around 3,000 pounds less than the “Skibirds.” Lockheed Martin builds the family of four-engine, turboprop C-130s.
While lawmakers said the skiplanes were designed to last another 15 years, decades of flight in extreme weather conditions are already taking a toll.
Airmen ventured out in subzero temperatures to fix an LC-130 that was stranded at the South Pole last month, the 109th Air Wing said Dec. 21. There are no hangars or shelters at the South Pole, meaning the team was exposed to the elements for two days while they worked.
Temperatures dropped from -40 degrees to -77 degrees Fahrenheit while three airmen tried to fix low engine oil and a broken tail cable. The cable lets the tail open and lower a platform to the ground so crews can load cargo.
“It was a struggle to maintain warmth and we began to have symptoms of frostnip from the extreme cold and cyanosis [lack of oxygen in the blood] from the 9,600-foot elevation we were working at,” said Tech Sgt. Dennis Craig, a hydraulics craftsman from Kentucky’s 123rd Airlift Wing who flew in to repair the aircraft.
“This aircraft rescue was a reminder of the daunting tasks that are down here, working in austere environments,” added Chief Master Sgt. Ron Jemmott, the superintendent of aircraft maintenance at McMurdo Station, the National Science Foundation’s largest Antarctic outpost. “It takes a toll on your body, but they keep a positive attitude and get the job done.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Dec 22. Pentagon lacks big picture for fighter jet procurement, watchdog says. A federal watchdog wants to make sure the U.S. military is getting the best bang for its buck when buying new aircraft.
The Pentagon plans to spend about $100 bn in the next five years to modernize its tactical aviation fleets — that is, fighter jets, attack planes and electronic warfare platforms. But the military should look at those plans holistically to avoid wasting money and duplicating effort, the Government Accountability Office argued in a report published Tuesday.
“Without an analysis of the tactical aircraft platform portfolio and a requirement to report underlying information externally, DOD and Congress will continue to have limited information when making major investment decisions,” GAO said.
That lack of transparency threatens to make the fiscal 2024 budget less effective than it otherwise might be, the researchers warned. Poorly informed decisions now could jeopardize U.S. troops in a potential fight against another advanced military like those of Russia or China.
The Defense Department responded that it plans to study its overall tactical portfolio within the next “one to two fiscal years.” But the department pushed back on the suggestion to provide that data to Congress, saying it’s internal information that may not reflect their final decision.
Most of the tactical aviation enterprise falls under the Air Force, but the Navy and Marine Corps boast sizable fleets as well. That includes the Air Force’s A-10C, F-15, F-16, F-22A and F-35A; the Navy’s F/A-18E/F, EA-18G and F-35C; and the Marine Corps’ AV-8B, F/A-18A-D and F-35B.
Many of those aircraft have been in service for at least 30 years and are past their recommended lifespan. Still, the platforms are key to securing territory in times of war — a lesson highlighted by the Russian air force’s failures in Ukraine over the past 10 months.
“Tactical air forces are critical to achieving and maintaining air dominance during combat operations,” GAO wrote. “These aircraft often operate during the first days of a conflict to penetrate enemy air space [and] defeat air defenses.”
Once tactical air units control the skies, other ground, air and naval troops can more safely begin their own missions.
Air Force officials have said at least 2,100 tactical aircraft would be sufficient to meet future needs, and the Navy and Marine Corps are pushing for nearly 1,200 of their own.
To hit those goals, the services planned to buy thousands of cutting-edge jets like the F-35. But testing delays and technical problems have forced the military to meet demand by instead keeping older airframes around longer.
Lackluster mission-capable rates — how often an aircraft can fly and perform at least one of its core missions — plus supply chain issues and other factors that drive up the cost of maintaining these complex, aging planes have made that a dicier proposition.
“Studies found that existing aircraft did not have the capabilities needed to compete in future combat scenarios, and some noted the need to invest in advanced technologies,” GAO wrote.
Several pointed to capability and capacity issues that could hinder the military’s air response in a crisis. GAO warned those could continue without more well-rounded, forward-looking plans.
In the meantime, Congress is becoming more amenable to the Pentagon’s proposals to retire hundreds of its oldest, least-relevant airframes.
That can lead to a more lethal force, GAO said, but only with the right investments in research and development.
It’s “a delicate balance and is a decision that should be made with the most detailed information,” according to the report.
“The lack of an integrated acquisition portfolio review of tactical aircraft platforms leaves DOD and Congress with limited insight into interdependencies, risks and related trade-offs among some of DOD’s highest priority and most expensive investments,” GAO said.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Airforce Times)
REST OF THE WORLD
28 Dec 22. South Korea to spend $440m until 2027 to counter North Korea drones. South Korea plans to spend 560bn won ($441.26m) over the next five years to beef up its ability to fend off North Korean drones, Seoul’s defence ministry said on Wednesday.
The plan was included in South Korea’s midterm defence blueprint for 2023-27 after North Korean drones crossed into the South in the first such intrusion since 2017.
The ministry earmarked the funds for four projects aimed at bolstering counter-drone capabilities, including an airborne laser to destroy drones and a jammer to neutralise smaller devices.
The blueprint also included a plan to add another drone unit in the army, which operates two squadrons.
“The laser weapon programme is in a testing phase and expected to begin deployment in 2027,” a ministry official said. “The ‘soft-kill’ type jamming system would improve our response capability against small drones.”
Monday’s incident triggered criticism over South Korea’s air defences as it tries to curb the North’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.
President Yoon Suk-yeol chastised the military’s handling of the incursion, urging it to hasten the reinforcement of the drone units.
The military apologised for its response, and said it could not shoot down the drones because they were too small.
As part of efforts to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the ministry seeks to procure more stealth jets, which it said would bolster real-time strike capabilities against moving targets.
The ministry will also secure additional ballistic missile submarines and accelerate the development of systems to intercept artillery rockets.
“We will strengthen our overwhelming massive punishment and retaliation capability to be able to destroy key facilities anywhere in North Korea in case of its nuclear attack or use of weapons of mass destruction,” the ministry said in a statement.
In total, the ministry aims to spend 331.4trn won ($261bn) on defence over the next five years, with an average annual increase of 6.8%. This year’s budget stood at 54.6trn won. Defence expenditures are subject to parliamentary approval. ($1 = 1,269.1000 won) (Source: Reuters)
23 Dec 22. Indian weapons buyer approves $10bn fund to equip military.
India’s weapons buyer on Thursday approved a 843.28 bn rupees ($10.18bn) budget for the acquisition of major weapons and platforms, most of which the government will spend locally in a bid to bolster the domestic defense manufacturing sector.
The Defence Ministry said in a statement that its Defence Acquisition Council backed the so-called acceptance of necessity proposal, which will see about 97.4% of the funds used to procure indigenous materiel. That type of proposal is the first stage for buying arms, per government regulations.
“This unprecedented initiative will not only modernise the armed forces but also provide a substantial boost to the defence industry to achieve the goal of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant India,” the ministry said.
The government is now expected to issue fresh tenders, followed by the selection of bidders, field trials of prototypes and existing systems, and ultimately the awarding of a contract. The induction of new arms would begin after 2030.
Under this latest budget, India is seeking light tanks, mounted gun systems, ballistic helmets for infantry troops and so-called futuristic infantry combat vehicles, the ministry said. The Army estimates it needs a total of 1,750 futuristic infantry combat vehicles, 350 light tanks and about 800 mounted gun systems.
No local company in India has ever built tanks, futuristic infantry combat vehicles, or 155mm/52-caliber mounted gun systems with fully indigenous technology.
The Indian Air Force is seeking air-to-ground next-generation anti-radiation missiles, long-range guided bombs, range-augmentation kits for conventional bombs, and advanced surveillance systems.
The Defence Acquisition Council also granted approval for new naval programs for anti-ship missiles, underwater autonomous vehicles and multipurpose vessels. Similarly, the agency approved the procurement of an unspecified quantity of fully indigenous next-generation offshore patrol vessels for the Coast Guard. In the 2021-2022 financial year, India bought 702. 21 bn rupees worth of locally made armaments from domestic defense contractors. During the 2022-2023 financial year, India has spent about 845.98bn rupees on locally sourced materiel. (Source: Defense News)
23 Dec 22. Colombia begins negotiations to buy 16 Rafale fighter jets. Colombia is negotiating the purchase of 16 Rafale multirole fighter jets for its Air Force, a deal potentially worth $3.15 bn, according to a news release from the country’s president.
After local media recently reported negotiations with the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault were underway, Colombian President Gustavo Petro issued a statement confirming the information. However, he also noted that two other offers remain under consideration, and that Dassault’s bid was only preselected as Colombia’s preferred option.
Earlier this month, the president had announced during a military ceremony that the country would soon replace its Israeli-made Kfir jets, which are more than 40 years old and approaching the end of their service lives. According to the president’s news release, the operation and maintenance of the Kfirs “have become very expensive and also risky,” as not enough of them remain operational around the world, which makes it difficult to obtain spare parts.
Petro added that the cost of procuring the Kfir replacements “is not going to use a single dime” from funds earmarked for social investment.
Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez later explained that funding will come from a 20-year credit provided by the French government, which includes a grace period of five years before the start of payments.
The other two offers under consideration are the F-16 Block 70 from American company Lockheed Martin, and the Gripen NG from Sweden’s Saab.
Colombia’s Air Force has shown interest in the F-16, but officials are concerned over what they consider restrictive conditions associated with acquiring missiles under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, local military sources told Defense News on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to discuss the topic.
The U.S. State Department did not return requests for comment on Colombia’s missile ambitions.
As for the Gripen NG, the military sources said it’s considered here to be a lightweight and less capable fighter than the alternative options. While the aircraft is cheaper that the other offerings, Saab’s financial conditions are not as generous, with a shorter grace period and payment schedule. The Swedish contractor also offered cheaper refurbished and upgraded secondhand aircraft, but Colombia declined.
Emilio Meneses, an independent analyst based in Santiago, Chile, told Defense News that Petro has surprised observers with his defense acquisition efforts.
“Against what was expected from him and his left-leaning background, he has launched two big military programs — to build frigates and to procure new fighter jets. He is raising the strategic profile of Colombia in South America,” Meneses said. (Source: Defense News)
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