Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the time frame and sourcing of Colombia’s announced plan to acquire up to 24 trainer aircraft; a Colombian general mentioned that during a speech in 2021. A previous version of this story also misidentified the number of T-6C aircraft on order by Colombia, additional options involved and their aggregated value; the country has so far purchased six.
SANTIAGO, Chile — The Colombian Air Force plans to buy four additional T-6C Texan II turboprop training aircraft from Textron Aviation in a potential deal worth $38.34 million, military sources told Defense News.
The negotiations are part of an effort to acquire up to 24 of the trainers, mentioned during a 2021 speech by Gen. Ramsés Rueda.
Both the Colombian Defense Ministry and Textron did not respond to a request for comment.
Colombia previously ordered three T-6Cs in 2020 for $28.74 million, according to media reports.
Colombia has so far received six T-6Cs, per a government report, to replace Cessna T-37B trainers. Colombia received Cessnas in 1969 and used them in advanced flight training.
All fixed-wing flight training takes place at an international school run by the Colombian Air Force at its Palanquero air base, according to the armed service. Apart from Colombian military pilots, trainees from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and El Salvador learn to fly there, per the Colombian Air Force.
The military sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said the long-term requirement for 24 T-6Cs aims to include aircraft fitted with weapons for light strike missions.
According to the sources, the armed aircraft would be used for tactical combat flight training with a secondary light strike role. They would also replace A-37B light strike jets and supplement Colombia’s fleet of 24 Embraer AT-29 Super Tucano ground-attack and counterinsurgency aircraft.
Colombia has considered buying an advanced lead-in fighter trainer, but the sources explained that wouldn’t happen until the country replaces its aging Kfir fighter jets.
José Higuera is a Latin America correspondent for Defense News.