Israel Offers Upgraded F-16s to Colombia

The Colombian Air Force is looking for 12 to 18 advanced combat aircraft to replace its current IAI Kfirs. Israel would put the F-16s through a service-life extension program that would include replacement of structural parts and upgrades to the avionics and engine

Archive photo: IAF website

Israel has offered to provide surplus Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Netz and F-16C/D Barak fighter jets to Colombia, Jane's reported on Monday.

The offer, which includes airframes that are held in storage and/or are soon to be retired, is aimed to fulfill a Colombian Air Force requirement for between 12 and 18 advanced combat aircraft to replace current IAI Kfirs.

According to Jane's, Israel would put the F-16s through a service-life extension program that would include replacement of structural parts and upgrades to the avionics and engine to bring the aircraft to a standard described as "close to Block 50."

Separately, Israel has reportedly offered IAI Kfir Block 60 fighters to an unspecified African country. According to DefenceWeb, officials from that country recently visited Israel to negotiate the purchase of the upgraded fighter aircraft and other systems like different types of UAVs.

It is worth noting that Israel sells F-16 fighters but does not buy new aircraft of the same model to replace them. This means that, given the purchase of the F-35, the IAF is making changes in its force mix.

"The air force acquires various types of aircraft and balances between the required quantity of each type, the resource constraints and the operation of the planes," IDF Spokesperson's Unit commented. "Each platform has its own unique capabilities and roles it performs. The remaining F-16C/D Barak aircraft in the service are undergoing a service-life extension program, similar to the Croatian project."