There would only be 8 operational Kfirs left in Colombia

Since the withdrawal of the Sri Lankan Kfir, Colombia remains the last operator of the Israeli fighter designed, after the Nesher, as a response from Tel Aviv to the French arms embargo following the six-day war. Until recently, Bogotá planned to keep its fleet until the end of the decade, to replace them, at that time, with a new generation aircraft.

However, a few months ago, heated exchanges between the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, and the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, Gali Dagan, following a reserved position by the former concerning the Hamas attack of October 7, were came sseverely deteriorate relations between the two countries, and in particular, with regard to arms contracts.

Israel was, in fact, a long-standing partner of the Colombian armies, and had recently obtained a favorable arbitration concerning the acquisition of ATMOS mounted guns, to the detriment of the French Caesar, yet preferred during the tests.

Following this altercation, Jerusalem announced that it would suspend all arms contracts, including maintenance contracts, as of January 1, 2025, with Bogotá. In fact, the Colombian air forces then found themselves obliged to find, very quickly, an alternative to the Kfir C10/12 forming its fighter fleet.

If that were not enough, the availability of Colombian fighters is now reaching alarming levels, while Israeli support remains assured, with only a third of the aircraft capable of taking to the air.

A third of the Kfir of the Colombian Air Force is operational today

Indeed, according to the website, of the 21 Kfir in service with the Colombian air forces, only 7 to 8 fighters would be capable of carrying out operational missions.

Kfir Block 60
The Colombian air forces are the last to use the Israeli Kfir fighter.

Thus, 6 Kfirs would have been definitively withdrawn from service, while five or six aircraft are undergoing heavy maintenance, and four to five, under scheduled regeneration maintenance.

This fighter fleet is barely sufficient to keep two aircraft for operational permanence, in order to carry out air policing missions, while the other fighters must ensure the training and training of pilots, and participate in national and international exercises. to which the Colombian Air Force must provide air assets.

And this situation is certainly not going to improve. Indeed, below a certain threshold, the operational pressure per device becomes such that each device consumes its flight potential much more quickly than in normal use, and that they cannot be regenerated, creating a vicious circle that is difficult to resolve. counter, without giving up many missions.

Tensions between Bogotá and Jerusalem lead to increasing unavailability of Colombian Kfir

The quarrel between Bogotá and Jerusalem obviously complicates this already deteriorated matter. Not only must Colombia find a replacement solution in the very short term, but this situation naturally tends to complicate current negotiations, if only concerning spare parts allowing fighters to be kept in flying condition. .

Gustavo Petro, and the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, Gali Dagan
Colombian President Gustavo Petro (right) refused to characterize the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack in Israel as a terrorist attack, provoking the ire of the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, Gali Dagan (left)

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