Ensuring the safety of citizens and protecting the interests of a sovereign nation is clearly an essential role for a state. This is not easy however. It can all too easily mean needing to overcome dangerous, often hard to reach terrain with the necessary resources or suffer from limitations in effective reach.
In the South Western region Putumayo in Columbia the epicentre of the nation's war on drugs can be found. Defined by its natural features and lower infrastructure the winding rivers and creeks are key to ensuring the Navy's strategic capability and control in the dense jungle. However, these fast-flowing rapids with the accompanying debris, sedimentary deposits and hidden vegetation immobilised operational capability specifically during October to January. With Colombian Defence Minister Jaun Carlos Pinzon commenting "we can't move because the river levels drop so far our boats hit the rocks".
In 2013, responding to the challenges posed the first of 8 Griffon 2000TD hovercraft were delivered to the Colombian Navy. The 2000TD is one of the most widely used craft in Griffon's range. It has been constantly adapted and refined in design and engineering to meet varying demands making it one of (if not the) most versatile hovercraft in the world. Having proven itself in a number of roles including with the UK's Royal Marines, before they upgraded their fleet to use 2400TDs, it's 2 tonne payload delivered at high speed and smaller size at 12.7 meters in length keep it effective and manoeuvrable in overgrown terrain. The ability to carry what is needed such as surveillance systems, armour plating and mounted armaments made it a perfect fit. The Defence Minister stated "This will allow our marines to access the more remote and difficult areas like jungle rivers and creeks, until now the Navy could only operate for half the year... hovercraft don't need high water so now we can cut off the rebels supply lines".
The Peruvian Navy also operate a fleet of 2000TDs
The Columbian Navy called the craft their "most modern equipment, fast, reaching speeds of up to 40 knots and versatile, giving quick response times". Journeys that took 4 hours are accomplished in 30 minutes, carrying marines and what is needed to where it's needed effectively, robustly and fast.
During the time since first receiving the hovercraft the pilots and crews have become some of the highest skilled in the world. The Colombian Navy has had continued success with the 2000TDs in facing both the drugs war and environment including the seizure of 500 kilos of narcotics in October of 2018 (shown below).