FY 2009 Program and Budget Guide: INL Aviation Program Summary

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
May 13, 2008

Budget Summary ($000)

FY 2007 ActualFY 2008 EstimateFY 2008 Supp RequestFY 2009 Request

Program Objectives and Performance Indicators

The overall INL Aviation Program supports objectives and performance indicators contained within respective country programs and the Interregional Aviation Support account, which are described in separate sections of the FY 2009 Program Budget Guide. This section presents a summary of INL’s total aviation program. INL has a fleet of 283 active aircraft operating in seven overseas countries and at two locations in the United States. One hundred sixty-five aircraft are actively managed under the INL Air Wing structure and operated in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Pakistan and Afghanistan under Chief of Mission guidance. Other smaller fleets of INL-owned aircraft, as well as some host government owned aircraft supported by INL, are managed under Narcotics Affairs Sections within the respective embassies (Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico). Titles for some aircraft in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico are in the process of being transferred to host governments. Additionally, INL Office of Aviation (“Air Wing”, or INL/A) is managing the Critical Flight Safety Program (CFSP), designed to address structural and technical shortcomings of the aging fleet, particularly Vietnam-era military aircraft needing refurbishment and extension of their useful life. The CFSP is also described in the Colombia chapter of the FY 2009 Program Budget Guide.

The Director of INL/A serves as the Department’s Senior Aviation Management Official and provides general oversight to all components of INL’s aviation fleet for compliance with technical aviation standards, contract management, and long range aviation planning and budgeting. INL recently undertook several initiatives to improve its overall aviation management, including: centralizing contract administration of all major aviation contracts under INL/A; conducting a fleet study using an outside consultant to produce an OMB Exhibit 300 for the aviation fleet; clarifying INL’s aviation planning and budget formulation for improved transparency with standardized cost elements; strengthening cost accounting for aviation programs; establishing an aviation management module to the Air Wing Information System to enhance total INL fleet asset accountability and reporting; and developing an aviation policy handbook for standardizing procedures, planning, coordination, and decision making.

Transformational Diplomacy

The INL Aviation Program supports transformational diplomacy by providing professional aviation services to counternarcotics programs overseas. These activities support both eradication and interdiction program elements in the counternarcotics program area of the Department’s peace and security objective. Aviation efforts support the Department’s objectives in the rebuilding countries of Colombia and Afghanistan by combating illicit drug enterprises that pose a threat to U.S. and global security and undermine good governance and economic growth. Similarly, aviation support to counternarcotics activities in Peru, Guatemala and Pakistan, as well as border security in Pakistan, bolster efforts to improve peace and security, good governance and economic growth in those developing nations. In Bolivia, the Air Wing has been instrumental in developing viable host nation institutional capabilities for counternarcotics operations and will continue to support peace and security in that transforming country. In Mexico, INL will facilitate the addition of aviation assets for counternarcotics and counter-terrorism missions to sustain our partnership with that Government as part of the Merida Initiative.

Program Justification

The aviation program provides airplanes and helicopters for eradication, mobility, interdiction, and logistical support that augment and facilitate ground operations and in many cases perform functions that would not be possible by any other means due to security conditions and poor road networks.

In the Western Hemisphere, the INL aviation program is critical to success in counternarcotics programs in the key source countries of Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. INL assists these governments and others to locate and eradicate drug crops, interdict drug production and trafficking activities, protect borders, and develop internal institutional counternarcotics aviation capabilities. In Colombia, the program conducts aerial eradication and counternarcotics interdiction activities in hostile, remote and increasingly scattered regions involving both the Colombian National Police and Colombian Army. The successful Air Bridge Denial program has been effective in allowing the Government of Colombia to establish territorial control of its airspace to prevent air trafficking of drugs. In Peru and Bolivia, the program supports transportation and logistics support for manual eradication and interdiction efforts. Airplanes and helicopters transport law enforcement personnel, critical supplies, and equipment to remote, underdeveloped, and unsecured regions that would otherwise be inaccessible, as well as provide medical evacuation capability for eradicators and law enforcement personnel when needed. Air reconnaissance assets are essential in locating, identifying, and targeting drug activities and verifying operational results. In Guatemala, INL is now embarking on a new initiative involving a four helicopter aviation program to provide support to law enforcement officials for interdicting drug trafficking in the transit zone. With the implementation of the Merida Initiative, INL will be facilitating expanded counternarcotics, border control, and counterterrorism efforts by providing maritime patrol aircraft to the Mexican Navy, utility helicopters to the Mexican Air Force, and utility/assault helicopters and reconnaissance/surveillance airplanes to the Security Police.

In South/Central Asia, INL air assets also play an extremely critical role. In Afghanistan, aviation support to eradication and interdiction efforts is absolutely essential in conducting operations in this large, rugged country with poor road networks and widely dispersed areas of cultivation, production and trafficking. In Pakistan, fixed and rotary wing air assets are used for the monitoring of borders and interception of terrorists, drug traffickers, and other criminals operating in remote areas.

By working closely with host government personnel to instill aviation technical and management skills and technology transfer, INL supports the operational goal of enhancing political determination to combat illegal drug production and trafficking. This builds long-lasting institutions that have the trained personnel and demonstrated abilities to assume increased responsibility for counternarcotics air activities.

Program Accomplishments


INL and the Colombian National Police (CNP) have collaborated in mounting an effective campaign using spray planes to eradicate coca cultivation. In 2007, over 153,000 hectares of coca were sprayed. From 2001 to 2007, we sprayed over 917,000 hectares of coca that would have produced 3,650 metric tons of cocaine. INL has assisted the CNP with training, maintenance, logistics, and operational support to make this effort possible. The program also provided logistical and operational support in the form of C-27 cargo airplanes and Multi-spectral Digital Imaging System (MDIS) and Gyrocam equipment mounted on Cessna C-208 Caravans for targeting and verifying eradication of coca. INL-provided support also made possible the significant airmobility capability of both the CNP and Colombian Army (COLAR), resulting in successful interdiction operations, support to aerial eradication, and medical evacuations. The INL aviation program has also imparted considerable training and mentoring of CNP and COLAR to enable those institutions to assume increased responsibility for running these aviation operations. As a result of these nationalization efforts, INL successfully turned over complete responsibility for nine helicopters to the Colombian Army in 2007, as well as five Air Bridge Denial airplanes to the Colombian Air Force, with more transfers planned for 2008. A total of forty-two fixed wing and 130 rotary wing INL-owned aircraft continue to provide support to the various counternarcotics programs in Colombia.

Peru and Bolivia

INL aviation support to Peru and Bolivia has been instrumental in continued coca reduction operations. In Peru, twenty-three Huey-II helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft continue to transport manual eradication teams and Peruvian counternarcotics police in order to implement far-reaching counternarcotics operations. In Bolivia, ten INL-owned helicopters and three Bolivian-owned, INL-supported C-130 airplanes have enabled the government to project authority over vast areas where drug traffickers previously operated with impunity, and to establish mobile, forward operating bases. During times of violent attacks against eradicators and law enforcement personnel, the air assets have conducted life-saving medical evacuations. The significant eradication of coca in the Chapare region of Bolivia would not have been possible without the helicopter support provided through the INL aviation program. INL provided aviation technical support and training, and logistical support was an essential ingredient of the success enjoyed by host nation personnel operating these helicopters. The aviation program has also continued to make progress in establishing self-sufficiency in host nation counternarcotics aviation organizations.


INL has provided nine Huey-II helicopters and three C-208 Cessna Caravan airplanes to the Ministry of the Interior in order to provide law enforcement personnel with the operational capability to perform border security operations and interdict drug trafficking and other illegal activities. Aircraft operated and maintained by the Government of Pakistan (GOP) personnel with technical and logistics assistance from an INL-funded contract to ensure standardization, safety, proper maintenance and quality control. During the past year, these aviation assets assisted the GOP in accomplishing many objectives, including aerial surveillance of opium poppy fields utilizing mounted cameras and GPS capabilities, medical evacuation and rescue operations, and counter-terrorism activities. These aircraft provide Pakistan with an Air Wing capability for integrated helicopter, fixed-wing, and ground forces operations in day and night, including use of night vision goggles (NVGs). This aviation unit constitutes the only NVG aviation interdiction force in Pakistan, and due to its unique capability and past performance, is considered to be the premier interdiction force.


INL effectively employs ten Huey-II helicopters and several leased fixed and rotary wing aircraft in Afghanistan to support manual eradication and interdiction efforts. This support is critical to progress in eradicating poppy and interdicting production and trafficking activities as well as movement of police training program personnel due to security conditions and poor roads in Afghanistan.

FY 2009 Program

In FY 2009, the INL aviation program will continue to provide the technical support necessary to operate the current fleet of 283 fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The program will: continue to provide substantial aerial eradication and COLAR and CNP aviation support in Colombia while continuing hand-off of responsibility and equipment to the host government; continue to provide logistical and technical support and training to successful, mature aviation programs in Peru and Bolivia; provide critical aviation support to counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan and border security efforts in Pakistan; initiate a four helicopter air interdiction program in Guatemala directed against drug trafficking in the transit zone, and; begin to implement aviation segments of the Merida Initiative, a major initiative to support the Government of Mexico in border control, counternarcotics, public security and counterterrorism.


A primary concern will be the continued aerial eradication of Colombian coca. Further success in the coca eradication campaign is expected to reduce the target population of the illicit crops. The program is expected to be conducted in a hostile environment as narco-terrorists fight back against our spray and support aircraft. The program will also continue to provide extensive support to CNP and COLAR aviation programs, while continuing the gradual hand-off of responsibility to GOC under the nationalization program.

Bolivia and Peru

In Bolivia, INL air assets will continue to support efforts to eliminate residual coca and prevent new plantings in the Chapare region. INL aviation assets will also support interdiction operations along Bolivia’s borders. In Peru, we will continue to support the reduction of coca cultivation, seek to aerially verify the extent of opium poppy cultivation, and support interdiction missions.


INL deployed four Huey-II helicopters to Guatemala in FY 2008 using reprogrammed funds. In 2009, we will continue to provide training, technical oversight, and logistical/maintenance support to host nation personnel who will perform counternarcotics missions with these helicopters to interdict trafficking and support eradication activities.

Afghanistan and Pakistan

In FY 2009, INL will continue to employ aviation assets in Afghanistan to support movement of personnel and cargo for eradication and other counternarcotics missions. INL aircraft are essential for reaching distant areas without roads and infrastructure, and provide security, reconnaissance, medical evacuation, command and control, logistics, and other capabilities that are invaluable to programs in the country. In Pakistan, INL will continue to refine operational procedures and provide logistical support for the helicopters and fixed wing, sensor-equipped aircraft performing border security operations.


In cooperation with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, INL will provide aircraft, parts, technical support, and training to GOM institutions to conduct border security, law enforcement, counternarcotics, and counterterrorism missions. This will include four maritime patrol airplanes for the Mexican Navy, eight utility helicopters for the Mexican Air Force, and three utility/assault helicopters and three reconnaissance airplanes to the Security Police. INL will work closely through the Embassy and with partner agencies to ensure the effective use of this equipment.

INL Aviation Program

FY 2007
FY 2008
FY 2008
FY 2009
Interregional Aviation Support (IAS)
Colombia *
Guatemala (reprogrammed funds)

Mexico (Merida Initiative)
* Includes CFSP. In FY 2007, $61.035M separately programmed for CFSP;
FY 2008 ($38.982M) & FY 2009 ($45M) amounts included within Colombia country program budget.