Thursday, December 11, 2014
Long ago, Chile's armed forces moved on from their past as the country's rulers. Now, they seem to be wiping away any remaining memories of that era. The Army deleted the name of Gen. Agusto Pinochet from a medal. The Navy is retiring in January a submarine tender that was named after Adm. José Toribio Merino Castro, the Navy chief who was part of the junta that overthrew President Salvador Allende in 1973. Don't expect another ship to bear that name in the future, said Defense Minister Jorge Burgos. There's been public pressure to eliminate reminders of the junta from other places, such as street names. Burgos denied that the retirement of the sub tender had anything to do with politics. As far as the impact on the Navy goes, there are no plans to acquire a replacement, and other vessels such as offshore patrol boats or the multirole ship Sargento Aldea will take over its role. Tenders are used to resupply submarines out at sea and to give the sub crews some breathing space. The Almirante Merino was acquired from Sweden in 1997. It was launched in 1969, originally built as a mine layer.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
The Army is putting out its annual call for young men who want to become professional soldiers. It's a five-year commitment, with not only a paycheck but the opportunity to learn a trade, get free housing and health care and, after three years, the chance to apply to become a noncommissioned officer. With unemployment among young adults running high in Chile, the 7,000 openings are likely to fill up. But there are stringent (if not curious) requirements. Women cannot apply for the program, although they can enlist and even become officers under other programs. Applicants must be single, have no children, be 18 to 25 years old and be in good health. In addition, applicants must pass a physical, a mental evaluation, a 2,400-meter run and pass other tests.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Although Chile has little transparency in military expenditures, there are plenty of details publicly available from U.S. defense agencies that provide arms to allied nations. The database of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency is particularly enlightening. It is packed with information about every request and delivery of surplus equipment sent to Chile in the past 20 years. The database is not complete, however. For example, it shows only one KC-135 tanker aircraft delivered to Chile, when in fact three have been transferred. It doesn't show the delivery of the former USS Higgins tanker ship. It's also unclear if the costs shown are actual figures because transfers often are made at discounted prices. Here are some of the most noteworthy items from the database:
- Of 24 M109A5 self-propelled howitzers requested, half are shown as delivered.
- Chile last year requested antennas and other equipment for the APG-66 radar (used in the F-16 fighter) but no deliveries are registered.
- A total of 44 M163A2 Vulcan self-propelled anti-aircraft cannon and 66 M167A2 towed Vulcan systems were delivered in 1998.
- A KC-130R Hercules tanker plane was sought in 2012 but not delivered.
- Most transfers occurred in the 1990s, much less in the decades that followed.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Final assembly of the Army's new Galil ACE 22 AC assault rifles will be at the Famae armament company in Chile. Famae, which is controled by the Chilean Army, also will manufacture some parts, including the barrel and gas tube. In addition, it will assemble some subcomponents, such as the sights, buttstock and grip. Those details were revealed in an Army magazine article that also said the manufacturing process of each rifle will begin in Israel. The Galil ACE was designed by Israel Weapon Industries, which has been making the Galil family of rifles for decades. The ACE weighs about seven pounds, fires a 5.56mm round and has a long Picatinny rail for accessories. The Galil ACE replaces the Army's SIG-540, a dependable but sorely outdated rifle.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
|All the way from the Lone Star State|