A commission from the Colombian Army will travel to Herlon, California, United States, specifically to the Sierra Army Depot, which is the largest depot of military vehicles in the U.S. Army. There, a Joint Visual Inspection of ASV M1117 vehicles, which will be added to the Colombian Army’s inventory, will take place. These will be 55 used vehicles, joining the current fleet through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program, which is the most significant and cost-effective armored vehicle program for the Colombian Army.

Two technical working groups will select the new 55 vehicles by conducting a visual inspection, which will then be transported to Colombia for nationalization and receipt by the cavalry units and their delegates. Subsequently, they will be delivered to each unit after the necessary maintenance steps are carried out by the Maintenance Battalion No. 2 Cazilda Zafra, located at the Tolemaida Military Base.

The M1117 has become the backbone of the Colombian Cavalry due to the inoperability of the 6×6 platforms (due to lack of interest and capability of the commanders) and has turned the Colombian armored force into one of the weakest on the continent, as previously analyzed by this magazine in the article “The Dark and Sad Future of the Armored Forces of the Colombian Army.”

Regarding the total numbers of these vehicles, to avoid confusion, I’ll quote Sergeant Vice First Rogelio Chaparro López, Head of the Tactical Vehicle Plant of Maintenance Battalion No. 2 Cazilda Zafra, who informed in an interview with Army press: “At this moment, the national army has 66 ASD APCs, there is a project where we have 86 M1117 vehicles, 59 M1117 vehicles are pending entry. And in the coming days, a commission composed of officers and non-commissioned officers will select 55 more vehicles to reach 200.”

Therefore, a total of 200 vehicles of this type will be donated by the United States through bilateral agreements, in addition to the 66 operational ones acquired by purchase, not to mention two extras acquired in 2017 that apparently are used as intelligence or signal systems, according to images revealed on social media. It is a robust armored vehicle designed to move on any terrain and provide security to troops against small arms attacks such as rifles and machine guns, improvised explosive devices, mines, and even RPG grenades, as demonstrated in high-intensity conflicts such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. Its armor is an advanced expandable modular angular armor from IBD Deisenroth Engineering. Its armament consists of a fully protected turret with a 40mm grenade launcher and a .50 caliber machine gun, which are purchased separately, since the donated vehicles lack weapons (it is important to clarify that in the Colombian case, due to the inexplicable “decisions” of our officers, 20 to 40 vehicles of those purchased in the 2010s decade do not have turrets, so a mount for a machine gun was adapted).

This is significant news for the protection of members of the National Army, who, as mentioned many times, go on patrols in trucks and vans that provide no protection and lack the necessary firepower to repel attacks from insurgents, being particularly affected by ambushes and improvised explosive devices on Colombia’s roads, while substantial resources are wasted on excessively expensive vehicles and investigations with cost overruns such as the LAV III.

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