Colombia: July 4, 2001


Columbia will order six Mi-17s from Russia. (It bought ten of them in 1996 but has lost two of them.) These aircraft, with various defensive systems but no weapons, are used to ferry troops from garrisons to a secure forward base. From such a forward base, the troops are moved into the field by more maneuverable US-built UH-60 BlackHawks. The Mi-17s can carry 30 troops (40 if at relatively low altitudes). Such two-step troop movements are needed since the Colombian rebels operate over wide areas where there is virtually no road net.--Stephen V Cole


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