The Ecuadorian Army has acquired twelve new tactical boats, worth approximately $7.9 million, from Israel's Elbit Systems to carry out operations on Ecuador's border with Colombia. Spanish website Infodefensa, which reported the news, said that Elbit, as the main contractor, installed communication, radio and command and control systems on the boats, which are the first ones made by the company to be operated by the Army.
The boats made of marine-grade aluminum are 8.35 meters long and 2.6 meters wide. They are protected from 5.56x45mm and 7.62 x51mm ammunition, and each one is equipped with four 5.56x45 mm caliber FN Herstal M249 machine guns, Infodefensa said, adding that the boats can carry up to eight soldiers with their personal equipment.
However, as for the weaponry on the boats, it has become known to Israel Defense that contrary to the report by Infodefensa, each of the boats will be equipped with four 5.56mm caliber "Negev" machine guns made by small arms manufacturer Israel Weapon Industries (IWI).
According to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Defense, the vessels will be operated by the No. 19 Jungle Brigade Napo to increase the number of its patrol, surveillance and control missions in the Napo, San Miguel and Putumayo rivers, where criminals such as drug smugglers as well as Colombian terrorists operate.