Cablegate: Air Bridge Denial: January 2004 Program Update

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

id: 13986
date: 2/13/2004 22:50
refid: 04BOGOTA1558
origin: Embassy Bogota
destination: 03STATE265910
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

----------------- header ends ----------------






REF: A. 2003 STATE 265910

1. (U) Summary: Following is the January Air Bridge Denial
(ABD) activity report required by ref A. There were over
4800 tracks sorted, of which 42 were declared Unidentified,
Assumed Suspect (UAS) Tracks, with one Phase I and one Phase
III event during the month. ABD program issues of concern
include the availability and basing of interceptors. End

ABD Tracks

2. (U) In January 2004, over 4800 tracks were sorted, of
which 42 were declared UAS aircraft. The GOC did not react
to 28 UAS, 17 due to non-availability of assets or proximity
to borders, seven due to proximity to international waters,
two due to the track information being dated or
insufficient, and the remaining two were eventually
identified as friendly. There was an interception on
January 5 that did not proceed beyond phase I due to
collateral damage concerns.

Phase II Event

3. (SBU) On January 24, a track was picked up by ROTHR near
the Brazilian border in the Dog's Head area. A Citation was
airborne nearby and was sent to intercept; a Colombian Air
Force (FAC) "Arpia" (UH-60 with Miniguns) stationed at Mitu
was also scrambled for this event. The Citation intercepted
the aircraft and accomplished visual ID of a two-engine, low
wing aircraft bearing what appeared to be Brazilian
identification. The target aircraft subsequently landed at
Caruru where it was pushed to the treeline and concealed
with a fake building, plastic tarps, and vegetation. The
Citation accomplished several Phase I calls with no
response, then completed phase II calls before proceeding
with warning shots by the "Arpia". GOC officials assessed
that there was minimal likelihood of collateral damage and
proceeded with phase III, resulting in destruction of the
aircraft. (Note: In the course of subsequent Colombian
National Police reinsertion operations, NAS Officer was able
to confirm destruction of target aircraft and absence of
collateral damage.)

Ongoing Issues

4. (SBU) The FAC had deployed the "Arpia" helicopter to
Mitu as part of the security package in support of President
Uribe's visit the weekend of January 17. This proved to be
the decisive end-game asset that was not present during
previous ABD events in the Dog's Head/Caruru area (there
have been nine ABD events and numerous other tracks in this
area since the ABD program was restarted in August 2003.)
We expect the arrival of refurbished OV-10s to coincide with
completion of repairs to the runway at Mitu. Meanwhile,
the GOC will retain "Arpia" helicopters at Mitu until OV-10s
are deployed.

5. (SBU) The GOC has repeatedly noted that the time required
to perform Phase steps precluded bringing events to a
conclusion. For the January 24 Phase III, however, only 15
minutes elapsed from request of ground Phase I to the target
being destroyed. This was accomplished despite repeated
communications and an assessment of the possibility of
collateral damage. This event demonstrates that with assets
properly located, the ABD required checklist steps can be
performed in a reasonable time.

6. (SBU) The Air Bridge Denial Semi-Annual Program
Management Review (PMR) will be held February 24-25 at JIATF-
S, Key West, FL. Tentative program follows:

-USG meeting
-Combined Review of program accomplishments to date
-Combined Review of Jan-Feb ABD Events
-Combined Review of Program Goals, Objectives, and Measures
of Effectiveness
-ABD Asset (Citation/C-26/End Game aircraft) Status
-C-560 Familiarization
-US/GOC Issues
-Road Ahead
-Letter of Agreement (LOA) review

Post is coordinating with GOC to obtain their LOA/PMR

Organizations desiring to attend must coordinate by February
16 with Mr Ezequiel Parrilla, NAS ABD program Advisor, 011-
571-383-2222, email to confirm
attendance and lodging/transportation arrangements.
Security clearances must be confirmed with the JIATF-S
Special Security Officer at 305-293-5484, fax 305-293-5506
at least 10 days prior to travel. POC for JIATF-S is CDR
Wade Graft, 305-292-5311 DSN 483-5311, email

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