According to Sikorsky, Colombia’s Air Force, Army, and national police forces make that country the 3rd largest fleet operator of its S-70/UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters. Ongoing defense modernization, and a continuing operation against narco-paramilitaries that include the Venezuelan-backed FARC, have kept that fleet busy, and created a consistent need for more helicopters to carry troops in Colombia’s difficult terrain.
Milavia’s OrBat suggests a total of about 85 H-60s in all branches of Colombia’s military. Many of Colombia’s helicopters are UH-60A equivalents, though about 16 have been upgraded to “AH-60 Arpia” attack helicopter status with surveillance turrets, rockets, and forward-firing guns. Since 2005, a steady drumbeat of DSCA notifications and contracts concern UH-60L upgrades, or new helicopters, that will add to Colombia’s fleet. While other customers like the US military, Bahrain, the UAE and even Colombia’s G-3 trade bloc neighbor Mexico are ordering the newest UH-60Ms, Colombia sees an opportunity to save money by sticking with the UH-60L as its top-end standard.