Sunday, March 29, 2015
The arduous job of clearing Chile's minefields reached a milestone this month, when Isla Grande in Tierra Del Fuego was declared free of landmines. But the achievement also served as a reminder of just how much more work is still needed to rid the country of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. After clearing more than 96,000 anti-personnel mines, the task is barely half completed. In the far south region of Magallanes, 78% of mines are gone. The minefields near the borders with Peru and Bolivia are farther behind. Still, Chile has a target date of 2020 to complete the job, which is obligated to perform as a signer of the Ottawa Convention. The mines were Chile's answer to the threat of war with Argentina in 1978, when Argentina had a far superior military and Chile was coping simultaneously with a threatened attack from Peru. The crises eventually abated, but the landmines remain a legacy of those tense days. Traditionally, mines have served the weaker armies with an effective way to confront adversaries. Mines have a deleterious effect on maneuver forces, if not a lethal one. At least the problem is manageable in Chile, which charted all of its minefields. In many other countries, it's anyone's guess where mines have been laid.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The Air Force is making some modest acquisitions, including two or three Black Hawk helicopters and jet engines for the F-16 fighter. The commander of the Third Air Brigade in Puerto Montt confirmed the helicopters would be added to the single Black Hawk that FACh already operates out of that base. That helicopter, of the S-70A-39 version, was acquired in 1998. Chile did not exercise options to acquire 11 more, leaving it the only Black Hawk in the Air Force inventory, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The commander did not say what country is selling the helicopters, and there's no confirmation from the Pentagon. The U.S. Defense Dept. did list a contract to Pratt & Whitney to rebuild F110 engines, the type used in the F-16, for Chile. The contract is part of a modernization program for the front-line fighter fleet.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
|More women rush to recruitment tables|
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Two Peruvian naval officers have been charged with giving Chile sensitive military information. A third officer is under investigation. The scandal comes just as the two countries were improving their relations and leaving their territorial disputes in the distance. Last year, the nations complied with a ruling of the International Court of Justice that granted Peru a larger piece of the Pacific. The thaw was a welcomed development for Chile's government, which is dealing with a much more hostile dispute with Bolivia. Besides the political fallout, the spying case could also impact Chile's strategic vision. The government of President Michelle Bachelet is hoping to forge closer ties with Peru, the same way Chile did with Argentina years ago. Argentina now stands as a model of successful diplomacy. Once bitter rivals, the neighboring nations are now allies. They've formed a joint peacekeeping force and both militaries cooperate extensively. That's allowed Chile to reduce its defenses along the Argentina border. Bachelet's hope is to someday have the same detente with Peru, and earn a peace dividend. There's been other spying cases in the past, usually involving Peruvians or Bolivians spying for Chile.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Chile has acquired two C-130 Hercules from U.S. Navy stockpiles — the most significant addition of transport aircraft since the 2010 purchase of KC-135 planes. The Hercules will be delivered this year and next, according to El Mercurio. The newspaper reported the C-130s are part of the H series, the same as two others already in FACh's fleet. The purchase is confirmed in the database of Excess Defense Articles of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which shows Chile paid $7 million for each plane. The agency's database also shows the transfers were authorized in 2012 and 2013, indicating that Chile didn't accept them until recently. The planes are listed as C-130R, a Marine Corps air-refueling version with hose and drogue refueling pods. It's possible that the refueling capabilities have been removed, which is why the newspaper says the Hercules are H-series rather than the R version. On a related note, the DSCA database also lists a transfer last year of two F110-129 jet engines — which are used for the F-16 fighter — at a cost of $3.89 million.