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Colombian air force chief pushes for more Black Hawks

The Colombian air force’s appetite for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk has not waned five months after the government in Bogota signed an agreement ending a 50-year-old conflict with FARC guerrilla fighters.

“I hope we will have enough budget to continue acquiring this aircraft,” says Gen Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas, speaking on 4 April during a Sikorsky press conference.

Colombian military and police forces now operate 103 Black Hawk helicopters after receiving the first in 1988, including the air force’s unique Arpia armed gunship. The medium-lift aircraft played a key role in the government’s campaign against FARC guerrilla forces fighting across Colombia’s mountainous jungles.

FARC forces referred to the air force’s Black Hawk as “the Witch”, Vargas says, using its vertical lift capabilities to arrive silently in unexpected places.

“I’m sure Colombia will continue to improve these capabilities,” he says.

Sikorsky plans to deliver six more Black Hawks to the Latin American region later this year. The first batch of three S-70i Black Hawks ordered by the Colombian air force will be delivered in August, followed by a second round of deliveries in October.

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