Helicopter of Colombian president targeted by gunfire

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The Colombian presidential UH-60 helicopter was the target of gunfire on June 25, 2021, while transporting president Ivan Duque along with the country’s ministers of the interior and defense, and the governor of Norte de Santander. The incident took place near the border with Venezuela during a visit to the city of Cúcuta.

Duque stated he was the victim of “a cowardly attack” and owed his survival both to the aerial security structure and the aircraft’s capabilities. The presidential aircraft, a Sikorsky UH-60L Blackhawk registered as FAC 0007, was found with multiple bullet holes in its tail fuselage and rotor. The Ministry of Defense later said the damage was consistent with assault rifle shots.

“Once again, we reiterate that as a government we are not going to falter for a single minute, a single day in the fight against drug trafficking, against terrorism, and against organized crime organizations that operate in the country,” the president said in a statement. “I have also given very clear instructions to the entire security team to go after those who shot at the aircraft and also put the lives of other people at risk.”

On May 30, 2021, Colombia received a Leonardo AW139 helicopter to replace the presidential Blackhawk. The new helicopter has the capacity to transport up to 12 passengers in VIP configuration plus two crew members, and will feature a “self-defense suite.” Delivered in parts to the country, it should be assembled by Leonardo technicians before being painted in Colombian colors.

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