In December 2005, fresh from an expedition that tentatively sold $2 billion worth of military hardware to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez regime, Spain’s Defence Minister made the neighboring state of Colombia an offer. A combination of sales and aid transfers would give the FAC another 21 light tactical transport planes – and if they’d buy, he’d throw in 4 helicopters for free.
It was a peace gesture of sorts, but it failed to appease the USA, who blocked the Venezuelan aircraft by using US military export laws against key equipment. Even so, it was a smart marketing move. Colombia was already an EADS-CASA customer, thanks to previous transfers of Spanish C-212 Aviocar light STOL transports as anti-terrorism aid, and a 2002 buy of CN-235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. In the end, Colombia bought at least some of what Bono was offering, and they’ve continued to add to that fleet over time.
Contracts & Key Events
Spain’s initial offer was 2 C-295 light tactical transports, 7 smaller CN-235s, and 12 used C-212s. Based on later releases, it appears that Colombia’s FAC bought 4 C-295s (now 6) and 6 CN-235s, and accepted at least 6 of the 12 C-212s.
Another 3 CN-235 MPA planes and 1 C-212 serve with the Navy, but were bought or donated under previous transactions. The same is true of the Army’s 2 C-212s.
Jan 13/12: C-295 #6. The Colombian Air Force has ordered 1 more Airbus Military C-295. According to Airbus military, the FAC now operates 4 C-295s, with 2 more to be delivered, alongside 6 smaller Airbus Military CN-235-200 transports, and 6 C-212s. Airbus Military.
Sept 17/12: C-295 #5. Colombia orders another new C-295, which will join the 4-plane fleet that the CAF began operating in 2008. Delivery is scheduled for February 2013.
The FAC also operates 3 Airbus Military CN235-200 transports. EADS.
July 28/10: MPA #3. The Colombian Navy takes delivery of a CN235-300 MPA equipped with Airbus Military’s Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS), joining 2 CN235-200 MPAs already in operation.
To date, Airbus Military has sold 202 CN235s to 31 different operators, including 32 MPA versions. It is not completely clear whether this was an option under the deal mentioned in 2005, or a new purchase. defpro.
April 2/09: C-295 #4 arrives. EADS CASA delivers Colombia’s 4th and final C-295 light tactical transport.
Since the plane began service with the FAC, the fleet has flown 1,348 mission and about 1,400 flight hours, carrying 34,631 passengers and 1,436 tons of cargo to the remotest parts of the country. FAC [in Spanish]
November 2008: C-295 #3 arrives. Colombia’s 3rd of 4 C-295s arrives in-country. FAC [in Spanish]
June 11/08: C-295 #1-2 arrive. Colombia’s first 2 C-295s arrive in-country. FAC [in Spanish]
Dec 8/05: Spanish fly? Spain offers Colombia 21 light transport planes at a discounted price. Spanish Defence Minister Josi Bono, in Bogota:
“The offer I have presented to President Alvaro Uribe consists [of] 12 CASA C-212 aircraft, property of the Spanish Air Force, which could be sent to Colombia; two CASA C-295 aircraft, of the latest generation; and seven CASA CN-235s…. Besides the offer, I have presented to the president the gift of four helicopters of the Spanish Army”
Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono declined to disclose the value of the deal but said the planes were being offered at a discount. “We are not doing a business deal here. We are doing something that shows solidarity in the face of terrorism and in favor of peace.” The 12 C-212s were returned to EADS as part of a Spanish modernization deal. Colombia’s Navy and Army already fly a handful, alongside a pair of CN-235-200 maritime patrol planes. The helicopters would probably be old Bell UH-1H Hueys, which serve with both countries. Janes via OSINFO.
Dec 9/02: 2 CN-235 MPAs. The Colombian Navy acquires 2 EADS CASA CN-235-200 aircraft for maritime patrol missions in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and for the fight against drug trafficking. EADS-CASA won the competition, and the planes are are “equipped with specific sensors in accordance with the client’s requirements…. besides being able to carry out primarily missions of maritime patrol, it provides the degree of multi-functionality required by the operator.”
In other words, it has capabilities for use over land as well. The 2 aircraft are expected to enter into service by the middle of 2003. EADS.