It may sound incongruous, but the Colombian Army is beefing up its air force -- and hiring Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) to help.
On Wednesday, United Tech subsidiary announced that its Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary has contracted to sell the Colombian Army two new S-70i Black Hawk helicopters, a militarized international version of the famed UH-60 Black Hawk. Colombia already owns and operates five such helos within the Special Forces unit of the Colombian Army's Air Assault Division.
Colombia has long been a fan of Sikorsky's products. Its National Police, Air Force, and Army already operate 96 UH-60L variants which, when combined with the similar S-70is, means Colombia currently has the world's fourth biggest fleet of these helos -- after South Korea, Turkey, and of course, the U.S. itself.
United Tech did not disclose financial terms of the sale, but cost may have been a factor in Colombia's decision to begin buying S-70is rather than more UH-60Ls. According to public databases, the S-70i variant can cost as little as one-third the price of the UH-60L, which tends to fetch $18 million new. Even with the several modifications Colombia is asking United Tech to include on its new birds, they're probably getting them for a nice discount to the price of the country's other helos.