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Black Hawk helicopters joins Colombia's war on drugs

March 12, 2013

By Ms. Kim C Gillespie (USASAC)

The Security Assistance Command took another step in building partner capability when it completed a delivery of seven Black Hawk helicopters to Colombia on March 2.

Included in the delivery were three Black Hawks each for the Colombian National Police and the Colombian Army, and one Black Hawk MEDEVAC aircraft for the Colombian Air Force.

"The aircraft will provide advantages to the Colombians by enhancing their situational awareness and mission effectiveness in the war against drugs and terrorism through air operations," Col. Steve Smith, SOUTHCOM Regional Operations director, said. The aircraft are expected to improve results in the areas of counter-terrorism missions and training, and also in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations.

"They (the aircraft) will also be used for search and rescue operations," Smith added.

While the equipment delivery directly supports the needs of Colombia, it also supports the priorities of the Combatant Command, SOUTHCOM, which works with countries in its area of responsibility to promote regional security.

The delivery was made seven months ahead of schedule and enabled the Colombians to begin integrating the aircraft into their mission requirements earlier than expected. Smith credits Army Security Assistance Enterprise team members, which included the Aviation and Missile Command, Utility Helicopters Project Office, Security Assistance Management Directorate, Army Contracting Command and industry partner Sikorsky, the aircraft manufacturer, with increasing the speed of this Foreign Military Sales case.

"USASAC is about people, processes and promises. This case is a great example of how our people in the ASAE execute the promises we've made to a country through the FMS process," Smith said.

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