BOGOTA (Aug. 10)
Colombia will buy a squadron of either French Mirage-50 or Israeli Kfir fighter jets, it was reported here by the leading daily, El Siglo. The sale of the 12 planes is conditional upon the speed of delivery. According to the report, Israel Aircraft Industries has offered to deliver the Kfirs within two months; France has said it would need nine months to satisfy the terms of the contract.
The Colombian Air Force is under pressure to strengthen its defense capability in light of a long-simmering border dispute with Venezuela, which last year acquired 24 American-made F-16 interceptors. If Bogota purchases the Kfir, it will become the third South American country, joining Ecuador and Argentina, to incorporate the Israeli jet into its airforce.