July 23, 2019 / 9:04 PM / 25 days ago

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

FILE PHOTO: Sweden's Air Force Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter takes off during the AFX 18 exercise in Amari military air base, Estonia May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia is examining proposals from the United States, Spain and Sweden as it look to replace its aging 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 favor 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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