Bolivia intends to purchase six Chinese K-8 light military aircraft worth $58m to battle drug traffickers.

According to Reuters, Bolivian President Evo Morales said that the country recently issued a supreme decree to acquire six K-8 aircraft from China.

The decision to acquire the K-8, a jet trainer that can be used as a light attack aircraft, came after the US government barred the country from buying similar L-159 planes from the Czech Republic.

The K-8 jets can carry up to four under-wing pylons weighing 250kg each and be armed with fuel drop tanks, 23mm cannon pods, unguided rockets, unguided bombs and short-range air-to-air missiles.

The country is looking to replace its existing fleet of 16 obsolete Lockheed built T-33 trainers / light attack jets.

Bolivia is the third-largest producer of cocaine after Columbia and Peru.