Monday, September 3, 2007
Armed Services Turn Attention to Logistics
Chile's air force (Fach) confirmed it acquired two Airbus A310 MRTT aircraft. The planes will serve as transports and provide in-flight refueling for F-16 and F-5 fighter jets. The Airbus jets replace an aged Boeing 707 that had been converted for refueling duties. Besides its outdated airframe, the Boeing's engines do not meet the noise standards of most airports. That's significant, because the Airbus jets will also be used to ferry the president during foreign visits. The contract was valued at $104 million. Fach also said it signed a deal with Bell Textron for the purchase of up to 10 Bell 412 EP helicopters. These are slated to replace Huey helicopters, used for rescue, transport and other general purposes. The deal includes four firm orders, worth about $45 million, with options for more units. The news followed reports that the army had agreed to acquire perhaps eight second-hand Super Puma helicopters from Germany. Meanwhile, the national police force (Carabineros) is taking deliveries of four new Agusta A-109 helicopters for patrol, rescue and general use.