NEWTOWN, Conn. - According to information out of Colombia, the Colombian Air Force has solicited information from IAI of Israel on the purchase of upgraded second-hand F-16 A/Bs. If pursued, this would add another "feather in the cap" for IAI's electronics subsidiary Elta, whose EL/M-2032 multimode fire control radar or more powerful AESA-equipped EL/M-2052 would likely be used.
One of IAI's other subsidiaries, Lahav touts its F-16 ACE upgrade program, which includes systems from Elbit, Elta, El-Op, and Astronautics among others. One of the systems that the ACE upgrade provides is Elta's EL/M-2032. However, that upgrade is one that has already been performed to the Israeli Air Force F-16 A/Bs that would, ostensibly, be sold. Another option exists.
The potential acquisition is much more likely to specify Elta's more modern EL/M-2052 AESA radar -- basically, the next generation EL/M-2032. In an earlier purchase, Colombia purchased upgraded IAI Kfirs from Israel. These planes featured the EL/M-2052, making it much more likely that Colombia would unify their operational systems and also equip the F-16s with the radar.
The EL/M-2052 is a solid-state, active phased array (AESA) multimode fire control radar. In addition to basic fire control operation, the radar can also perform high-resolution SAR and ISAR mapping, air-to-ground ranging, and real beam mapping. It also provides weather awareness, ground moving target indicator (GMTI), ground moving target track (GMTT), sea search, maritime moving target indicator (MMTI), and maritime moving target track (MMTT) modes. A radar of this type gives Colombia an entirely modern, yet cost-effective tool.
For now, any F-16 purchase, upgraded or otherwise, remains in the realm of pure speculation. However, if the Colombia Air Force does eventually buy Israel's second-hand F-16 A/Bs, Forecast International expects the Elta EL/M-2052 to be sold alongside them.