After two years of preparation, Colombia’s Air Force participated in major military maneuvers with the United States for the first time in simulated air battles over a Nevada desert.
“Not only is it a dream come true to be flying with the best air force, but it is also very important for us because we can learn a lot (…) and we can advance our integration with a very modern air force,” said Colombian Brigadier General Carlos Bueno.
The exercises, called “Red Flag,” saw fighter jets dropping real bombs on specified targets in an extensive training course near Las Vegas. More than 100 Colombian soliders took part in the war games.
“[Colombia] aims to have the best [air force] in Latin America. They want to be the best in the continent after us, and they’re on track,” said U.S. Colonel Hans Palaoro.
Palaoro said Colombia’s Air Force excels at aerial bombing using the traditional approach strategy, a tactic that U.S. pilots are not accustomed to due to their reliance on remote control technology during aerial warfare. “What we fail to do, [Colombia] is very accurate at and they have impressed us. It is a tactic of the old guard,” he said.
President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets for Colombia’s Air Force.