BOGOTA – The Colombian air force on Wednesday unveiled the first military training aircraft built in the Andean nation, the T-90 Calima, and said it expects to assemble 25 units before the end of 2011.
The commander of the air force, Gen. Julio Alberto Gonzalez, told a press conference that the Lancair Synergy (T-90 Calima) airplane is a modified version of the Lancair Legacy, which has been redesigned by Lancair for “high performance” training missions.
The air force ordered 25 aircraft as kits for assembly from Redmond, Oregon-based Lancair International, with the goal of replacing the T-41 Mescalero and T-38 Mentor models that are currently being used for training purposes.
The goal is for three T-90 Calima planes to enter into service this year and the remaining 22 in 2011.
The total cost of the project is $10.5 million, the general said.
Separately, Gonzalez introduced on Wednesday a new rapid-response center at the Catam air base west of Bogota. Some 50 personnel will be stationed there and attend to emergencies anywhere in Colombia.
“There are nine aircraft, including helicopters, planes designed for landing on unprepared runways and pressurized planes that we use 24 hours a day from the island of San Andres (off Colombia’s northern coast) to (the southern jungle town) of Leticia,” the general added.
The T-90 Calima, which is 22.5 feet in length and possesses a wingspan of 28.8 feet, has a cruise speed of 160 knots, a useful load of 750 pounds and a landing roll of 900 feet. EFE