UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Colombia - Army (Ejercito Nacional) Modernization

In an effort to fight what the army leadership perceived as an escalating insurgency, the army initiated an equipment acquisition program during the early 1980s to improve the service's operational capabilities. Among the new purchases approved were armored vehicles, automatic rifles, submachine guns, and rocket launchers. As part of this program, a contract was signed in 1982 with the Brazilian firm Engesa for the purchase of its EE-9 Cascavel armored cars, EE-11 Urutu armored personnel carriers, and EE-3 Jararaca scout cars. By 1985 a total of 120 EE-9s and 76 EE-11s had been delivered to the National Army. The army also purchased tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) antitank weapons. By the late 1980s, TOW antitank guns had become the principal component of the army's antiarmor weaponry.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the major military equipment in service with the Colombian army in 1988 (in addition to the new acquisitions noted above) included twelve M-3A1 Stuart light tanks, twenty M-8 Greyhound armored cars, fifty M-113 tracked armored personnel carriers, and forty-five M-3A2 half-tracked vehicles. By 1984 many of the newly acquired TOW antitank guns had been mounted on the turrets of the M-8 armored cars. With the exception of the newer Brazilian purchases, nearly all of the army's armored equipment was of World War II vintage. By the late 1980s, continuing budget problems had constrained plans for additional equipment purchases.

Artillery weapons included fifty M-101 105mm howitzers that also had been manufactured in the United States during World War II. Mortars in use included between 100 and 125 M1 81mm and 148 M2 107mm models. Approximately 120 of the 120mm Brandt models also were counted in the army's inventory. According to the IISS, Colombia's air defense weapons included thirty 37mm and thirty M-1A1 40mm guns, both types manufactured in the United States. By 1987 the West German G3 assault rifle had become the standard infantry weapon -- some 30,000 having been acquired in the mid-1970s -- replacing the United States-manufactured M-1. Submachine guns in use included the three Madsen models--the M46, the M50, and the M53; the Walther MP-K; and the MAC-10. The Colombian armed forces' Division of Military Industries reportedly manufactured most of the army's ammunition.

The AMX-30 is used by the military forces of many countries. Venezuela has nearly a hundred of them. It is a weapon designed for conventional warfare. By 1987, the Spanish army was equipped with 299 French-designed AMX-30Es, assembled by Santa Bárbara Sistemas, and 552 American M47 and M48 Patton tanks. The AMX-30Es were put into service in 1970, while the latter went into service in the mid-1950s. The Spanish army replaced its M60 Patton tanks and AMX-30s with the Leopard 2 between 1995 and 2008, a considerable improvement in capability.

In 2003, the presidents José María Aznar and Uribe included in a counter-terrorism cooperation pact transfer of 40 tanks and 20 AMX-30 artillery shells caliber 155/23, all second-hand for about six million euros in total. Colombia contemplated purchasing from Spain a total of 46 AMX-30 EM-2 battle tanks.

As of 2009 ground troops were to receive 20 more 105mm artillery cannons. The 2009 plan was that might be joined by 30-92 more BTR-80 armored vehicles, if negotiation problems with the Russians were ever solved. They weren’t, and Colombia ended up buying Textron’s M1117 Commando APCs as wheeled cavalry vehicles instead.

Jairo Clopatofsky, senator of the Republic, on the purchase of the AMX-30 tanks from Spain, said "This is an excellent buy. I not think it's a bad deal, because the tanks are needed for internal and external sovereignty. They are not junk. The agreement between the two governments will provide that advice and maintenance by Spain. "It is true that the tanks are second-hand, but delivered in perfect condition".

But a confidential report submitted to the High Command by the members of a commission of experts Army during the months of January and February 2003 in the European country surveyed-mechanical equipment technical conditions. The inspection visit was accomplished between January 26 and February 4, 2003 and was led by the commander of the Cavalry School, Lieutenant Colonel Diego Yesid Sanchez Ruiz; and the first sergeant Juan Carlos Vasquez Guanarita, technician Armored Division.

According to the report, which was handed to the then Army Commander General Carlos Alberto Ospina, of the total of 82 AMX-30 tanks revised Brigade Armored Cavalry Castillejos II, in Zaragoza -- only 19 would be able to operate. They found that 54 of these vehicles were out of service, especially for lack of spare parts for maintenance of III and IV levels, the more complex.

In a letter sent on October 14, 2003 - seven months after the visit technically Deputy Defense Minister Andres Soto, the then deputy commander of the army, General Gabriel Eduardo Contreras, he proposed to buy 41 AMX-30 tanks for formation of a heavy group Cavalry ten parts for children and one for crew training. Subsequently, on December 19, 2003, Colonel Nicasio Martinez Espinel, director of Armored Army, issued technical concept recommending "buy 46 vehicles of the 82 tanks that are in operation in the Cavalry Brigade Castillejos II".

The agreement was terminated by mutual agreement, upon arrival in the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and reconverted in the donation of two transport aircraft C-212 medicalized. Minister Jose Bono said the Spanish Army did not even have 40 AMX-30 tanks in the state of operation in which Aznar had promised Uribe, supposedly to guard the border of Colombia with Venezuela.

According to very reliable information of Erich Saumeth, by April 2012 the Leopard 1V was very close to being the MBT of the national army of Colombia, to make a battalion with all the necessary support vehicles. Others understood that there would be two Armored Groups to created a short distance from the border with Venezuela.

March 19, 2011, defensa.com published an article based on an official presentation of cavalry gun making known what for that was then the nascent process of acquisition of a main battle tank for the national army. After almost two years since the study began the first major change has been the opt for quality against quantity, this means against the original idea centered around the greater financial muscle in the creation as well will be theatre of operations north of the army of Colombia. The country shuffle options in armoured and operation of an armoured brigade, and its logic to get a better team, the idea of the high command is today form the two armored brigades that had been designed on paper.

As well as entering into detail of what will be the theatre of operations north to the initial study of Korean K1A1 MBT 2000 Chinese American M1A1 Abrams, the French Leclerc, Indian Arjun and the much-desired Merkava IIIC (version with the IV chassis and electronics of the III), appeared the Leopard that had been initially ruled out option since unfortunately two fundamental premises which are given at the first Congress of armored school held in of Cavalry lost its validity: new and with 120 mm cannon. As well as KMW has made available of Colombians some of their initial versions, that was at the disposal of the Colombian people for a possible upgrade the newly opened office of KMW in Brazil.

Each Armored Brigade will be made up of 44 tanks main battle, four vehicles low bed, 3 recovery vehicles, vehicle lanzapuente, nine Rafael Spike missile launchers. (Is expected to acquire the same version of the Spike to be mounted about four M1117 EE11, which operate with the existing force MR/LR versions). Each group or Brigade of tanks (44) organized in 3 squads of 14 tanks each (42), plus two command (44). Each squadron with three platoons of four tanks to two sections, a recoil vehicle for each Squadron, four vehicles low bed with capacity to transport a squad of four vehicles. Each squadron of tanks (14) would have aaccompanying Hummer vehicle, a TPM113 and a truck.

Each armored brigade theoretically should have a squadron of reconnaissance vehicles M1117 lightweight, however it is quite possible that both brigades are integrated by one and not two light reconnaissance squadrons, at least until the medium term. Although the Colombia army already has 39 of these vehicles, in their inventories and that unofficially known in the purchase of 44 units more from Textron Marine.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 05-05-2021 19:19:19 ZULU