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BRIEF

Bolivia to use Chinese Aircraft to Combat Drug Trade

BOLIVIA / 3 AUG 2011 BY JEN SOKATCH EN

The Bolivian air force is set to begin using six Chinese airplanes to battle drug trafficking in the Andean country.

The craft will be "important instruments for intercepting the air traffic of drug traffickers," said air force commander Tito Gandarillas.

The K-8 Karakorum is a two-seat fighter jet, developed jointly by China and Pakistan, which can reach speeds of up to 850 km per hour.

The aircraft were assembled in the Andean province of Cochabamba after the parts were delivered in June, in a deal worth more than $57 million. Bolivian pilots and technicians were sent to China for training in order to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the aircraft.

The Bolivian government has announced plans to intercept and shoot down suspicious aircraft, in a bid to stem the flow of drugs trafficked through the country.

The new aircraft will “strengthen the security of the sovereignty of our skies," said Gandarillas.

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