Colombia is being promised up to 63 new Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk and used Bell UH-1N helicopters by the US Government as part of a requested emergency supplementary aid package worth nearly $1 billion to combat drug trafficking.

The presidential request includes funds for 30 UH-60s and 33 older UH-IN machines.

According to the US Department of State, the helicopters are in addition to the foreign military sale of seven armed UH-60Ls for the Colombian air force and seven utility Black Hawks for the army already notified to the US Congress. As with previous UH-60 purchases, Colombia hopes to fund this order with Eximbank cash.

Colombia operates 28 UH-60s and the police will shortly take delivery of three modified helicopters funded by the state department. The army recently received five more UH-60Ls originally built for Venezuela but never paid for, increasing its fleet to 12. Another 13 machines are operated by the air force.

The 33 UH-1Ns are former Canadian Forces machines purchased by the state department, of which 18 have been refurbished and delivered to the Colombian police. It is also seeking funding to upgrade 15 UH-1Hs to the Huey 2 standard in addition to the 25 currently funded by Washington (Flight International, 6-12 October).

Source: Flight International