Mexico is the biggest spender among the 39 Latin American and Caribbean countries that purchase military vehicles and aircraft from the United States, spending one-fifth of its defense budget on those purchases.
Among them are 3,335 Humvees, worth US $556 million, 23 Blackhawk helicopters for $905 million and Beechcraft T-6C Texan II training planes for $480 million.
Authorized by the U.S. State Department, the purchases will give Mexico new high-tech gear.
Adam Isaacson, coordinator of the Office of Latin America in Washington (WOLA), a non-government organization, explained that Mexico will not only replace old equipment, but introduce a new class of equipment with much higher technology. Isaacson noted, however, that the new purchases will require costlier maintenance.
In 2013, Mexico’s National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) reported that 55% of the Mexican air force’s 346 aircraft had been in service for more than 21 years, and 142 of them were no longer in use.
Isaacson explained that the modernization of the air force’s fleet will guarantee national air space security and maintain adequate crew training. The fleet update will enable the air force to upgrade surveillance, conduct counter-narcotics operations, enhance logistics and personnel transportation, and help the civilian population in national emergencies.
Included in the Humvee and Blackhawk purchases are equipment, training, and logistics support. Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft Company and Massachussetts-based General Electric will offer training and support to Blackhawk operators.
Source: El Universal (sp)