The Colombian Army has agreed a US$20.9 million contract with a Louisiana defense contractor for 39 armored personnel carriers.
The Defense Industry Daily, an online defense industry trade journal, said the contract was actually a partial payment, and estimated the total value of the shipment of the M1117 ICV armored personnel carriers (APC) to reach US$45.6 million once the deal is completed.
Production of the wheeled armored personnel carriers will be carried out in the Textron Marine and Land Systems in New Orleans. Included in the deal are weapons for the carriers, as well as spare parts, manuals and training support.
According to the Defense Industry Daily, the M1117 ICV is a modern armored car with weapons and mine protection that, while superior to a Humvee, do not offer as much protection as MRAP vehicles currently used in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect U.S. troops against improvised explosive devices.
It is good news for Colombian soldiers however, given the fact that Colombia ranks among the highest among nations littered with minefields.
Estimated completion of the APCs is November 24, 2010. They are widely used by the US Army as a Military Police vehicle, and have a limited carrying capacity.