Saturday, September 22, 2007

Leopard IIs to Begin Arriving by Year-End

The first of 136 Leopard II tanks bought from Germany will arrive in Chile by the end of the year. Some repair and maintenance equipment will arrive ahead of them. The second-hand tanks replace a similar number of Leopard 1, M-50 Super Sherman, AMX-30 and M-41 tanks. The Super Shermans are an updated version of the venerable U.S. World War II tank. They were purchased from Israel in the 1980s and fitted with the Hyper Velocity Medium Support (HVMS) 60mm gun, developed by an Israeli company, plus a fire-control system. Of the 136 new tanks, 93 will be put into combat units, forming three battalions. The rest will be used for training and spares. The army also operates six battalions of Leopard I tanks.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Report Indicates Navy Acquiring C-295 Patrol Aircraft

The navy is replacing its P-3 Orion and Embraer P-111 fixed-wing aircraft with EADS Casa C-295 Persuader for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare roles. There's been no official announcement of the deal. But a transcript of an interview with navy commander Adm. Rodolfo Codina Diaz, posted on the navy's official Web site, quotes him saying seven planes will be purchased. The deal isn't quite done, the admiral notes, but the planes will be C-295. Initially, two planes will be acquired, to be followed by five more. No word on how much the acquisition will cost, or when deliveries are planned. The advantage of C-295 is that all the branches of Chile's armed forces already operate Casa transport planes, making logistics easier to handle. Prior reports indicated two of the seven new planes will be transports.

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 Besides its outdated airframe, the Boeing's engines do not meet the noise standards of most airports.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.