Le Rafale of Dassault Aviation regains color in Colombia

At the end of December 2022, France was close to signing a new export contract for its aircraft Rafale of Dassault Aviation in Colombia. Presented then as the favorite of the competition which pitted it against the American F-16 and the Swedish Gripen following evaluations by the Colombian Air Force to replace its fleet of 19 used Israeli Kfir fighters acquired in 2008.

However, Bogotá only wanted to commit to the acquisition of 3 or 4 aircraft out of the budget commitment of $678 million authorized by the Colombian parliament for the year 2022, whereas for Dassault, it was necessary to greater commitment so that the order can be integrated into the production schedule. In the end, the Colombian authorities announced at the beginning of January that the transaction was not possible, which postponed the procurement process for the replacement of the Kfirs.

Since then, little information has circulated on this subject, except an unsolicited American offensive a few weeks ago, to try to once again impose the F-16V in a bilateral agreement outside the selection process initiated, which above all constituted an attempt by Washington to take out the Rafale of this file, like Washington also did in the Philippines to release the Gripen, also favored against the F-16.

Le Rafale of Dassault aviation could replace the Kfirs of the Colombian Air Force
The Colombian air force must replace the twenty Kfir fighters still in service constituting its fighter fleet today

However, the interest in Rafale of the Colombian authorities does not seem to have diminished over time. Indeed, according to an article from the infodefensa.com website, specializing in Spanish defense news and South America, the acquisition of the French fighter would remain in Bogotá's intentions, even if it will not take place before 2025 or 2026.

Thus, during his official visit to France, the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, would have met at length with the president of Dassault Aviation, Eric Trappier, as well as the group's teams. According to the official press release from the Colombian authorities, President Petro even precisely extended the duration of his visit to Paris for this meeting which took place this Sunday, June 25, on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.

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