Colombia: Training and Technology Mark Air Force’s 93rd Anniversary
By Dialogo April 01, 2013
The power and prowess of Colombia’s Air Force was on display at the institution’s 93rd anniversary in November 2012. Fighter jets, Super Tucanos and Black Hawk helicopters conducted flyovers of the Military Transport Air Command (CATAM) base in Bogotá as the institution celebrated its achievements in training, technology and war fighting.
“The Colombian Air Force has a human capital that is increasingly better trained, more skilled and has at its disposal the best team in the history of the Air Force,” President Juan Manuel Santos said at the event, which was attended by Air Force representatives from the U.S., Brazil and the Dominican Republic. “I do not tire of repeating what I hear from so many demobilized members of the FARC and ELN [guerrilla organizations], the terror that they feel when they know that the Air Force is nearby.”
In 2012, Colombia was the only one of 27 participating nations to represent Central America, South America and the Caribbean in the Red Flag international aerial combat competition at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. “In every way we measure, the Colombian Air Force was exceptional,” U.S. Air Force Colonel George T. Menker told Diálogo, reflecting on the success of the elite group. At the competition, Colombian pilots demonstrated their combat capability and conducted real and simulated operations that helped to hone skills.
Also at the anniversary celebration, Colombian Air Force Commander General Tito Saúl Pinilla lauded Colombia’s technological advances and goals, including development of IRIS, an unmanned aerial vehicle that will be used in the fight against guerrilla groups and to protect national infrastructure.
“The project is advancing very quickly,” he said. Gen. Pinilla added that he hopes to announce to Colombians by midyear that “these are the unmanned aerial vehicles, made in Colombia, produced by the Colombian Air Force and the state enterprise for all Colombians.”