Sunday, January 23, 2022

Chile Buys E-3D Aiborne Early Warning Aircraft from Britain

Chile's Air Force finalized a deal to purchase three E-3D Sentry airborne early warning aircraft from the U.K. Royal Air Force. The planes are part of a fleet of AWACS planes retired in 2021 by the RAF, and negotiations to buy the planes began at that time. According to Jane's, the deal is finalized but terms were not disclosed. Plans are to use one of the three planes for spare parts and keep the other two in operating condition. The E-3D, based on a Boeing 707 platform similar to what the USAF used for many years, replaces Chile's single Condor, an aged 707 converted into airborne radar by Israel Aircraft Industries. That plane, Jane's says, was built in 1965 as a test bed for Boeing and was sold to then-Lan Chile (now Latam) in 1969. Then it was sold to FACh in 1990. The E-3D planes have updated CFM56 engines, maritime surveillance equipment and refueling booms, according to U.K. Defence Journal.This could be one of the last weapons acquisitions before leftist Gabriel Boric is sworn in as president. His government is not expected to be friendly to the military.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Upgrades Completed on Navy's Type 23 Frigates

One of the Navy's most far-reaching upgrade programs is now completed, after Asmar delivered the third and final Type 23 frigate with greatly improved electronics and armament. The upgrades extend the service life of each of the ships by 20 years. The three warships now carry the Lockheed Martin MCS 330 combat management system, the Hensoldt TRS 4D multifunction radar and MSSR 2000 secondary radar, MBDA's CAMM air defense missiles, and Viasat Link 16 and Link 22 datalink systems. FF 06 Almirante Condell was the last of the three Type 23s to undergo the upgrade, which took about a year for each ship. The program not only increases each ship's detection abilities, but it also provides each with an anti-air defensive umbrella of up to 25 kilometers with the CAMM missiles. The British Navy chose CAMM to replace the Sea Ceptor missiles.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Air Force Closes Investigation of Hercules Crash Without Finding Cause

Nearly two years after a Hercules C-130 plane was lost at sea, Chile's Air Force has concluded its investigation without determining the cause. Most of the wreckage was never found, and the few pieces recovered weren't enough to determine the cause. Searchers spent months looking for debris using ships and aircraft. The FACH C-130 went down in waters between the tip of South America and Antartica in December 2019. All 38 crew members on board perished. The Air Force is not done with the case, however. It faces lawsuits alleging negligence, and a prosecutor is still investigating the crash.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Chile Sends in the Troops to Control Indigenous Revolt

President Sebastian PiƱera used special powers to deploy the military into Chile's most troubled region. The so-called southern macrozone has been plagued by armed attacks on ranches, forestry operations, truckers and others, with acts occurring almost daily. In the past couple of years, armed groups of Mapuche fighters have elevated a yearslong campaign to regain lost ancestral lands, a conflict that has claimed lives of Mapuches, police and citizens. Under the decree, an Army general and a Navy rear admiral will command forces, which will patrol and provide support. The order runs only 15 days, after which the president needs reauthorization. The move is controversial, with opponents saying the militarization of the zone will only feed a cycle of violence. For others, it's a necessary step to bring some order to the area. Authorities say organized crime and drug gangs are mixed in with Mapuche fighters. Why did it take so long to move the military into the area? For one, the armed forces are reluctant to take on policing roles, and had just ended months of deployment in Chilean cities enforcing a Covid-19 curfew.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Defunding the Carabineros

Chile's new constitutional assembly is busy drafting proposals, and a committee proposed eliminating the nation's police force and replacing it with a new institution grounded in social justice and human rights. For many leftists, it would be a dream to eliminate the Carabineros, which formed part of the military dictatorship and today remain a nemesis. The head of Carabineros and some officials in the current government blasted the proposal, saying there is room for reform but not outright abolishment. The proposal saw a setback when the constitutional assembly's rules commission said the assembly lacks the authority to eliminate the police. With a whole new legal system being drawn up, who's to know if the new constitution will include a new police force. Carabineros may end up fighting for their survival, while Chileans could be left wondering how or who will fight crime. It also says that no matter what happens, Carabineros are likely to face a more skeptical or even hostile government forged out of the assembly.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Army Awards Contracts for Armor Upgrades

 The Army's Famae armaments supplier selected Elbit Systems to modernize the fire control system for the Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks. Famae also picked Belgium-based OIP Land Systems to upgrade the optics and aiming systems in the Army's Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles. Both programs will replace obsolete systems in the German-made armored vehicles, which were acquired second hand with much of their original equipment. The contracts are part of an electronics modernization program for Chile's armor units, a project named Proaco. As InfoDefensa notes, the new contracts could pose challenges because Famae chose companies that don't have as much experience with Leopard 2 and Marder vehicles.