July 23, 2019 / 9:05 PM / a month ago

Colombia could spend $1 billion on new air force planes - sources

FILE PHOTO: F-16 U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly in formation over General William J. Fox Airfield during a media day ahead of the Los Angeles County Air Show in Lancaster, California March 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia is examining proposals from the United States, Spain and Sweden as it look to replace its ageing military aircraft, the South American country’s air force said on Tuesday.

Replacing around 20 Israeli Kfir fighter jets, which Colombia bought three decades ago, could cost more than $1 billion, air force sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly, told Reuters.

“Different countries, including Spain, Sweden and the United States, have made formal proposals to Colombia to replace the squadron,” the air force said in a statement.

“Planes like the Saab Gripen, Eurofighter and F-16 are being evaluated, a process which will allow the (air force) to present recommendations for decision-making at the moment that the government determines,” the statement added.

Despite budget limitations, President Ivan Duque has said he is in favour of modernizing the country’s military equipment.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Bill Berkrot

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