Sunday, December 30, 2007

Belgian Mirage Deal Under Investigation

Three children of a former Chilean air force commander got $700,000 in commissions tied to the 1994 purchase of Mirage warplanes, investigators in Chile and Belgium have found. Three air force officers also got funds that weren't disclosed, lanacion.cl reported. The acquisition of 25 used Mirage 5 fighters cost $109 million, of which $15 million went for commissions to a French-Belgian company. The firm arranged the deal and distributed funds to others, eventually the offspring of retired Gen. Ramon Vega Hidalgo.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Army Acquires Marder Armored Vehicles

Negotiations are wrapping up for the purchase of 120 used Marder infantry fighting vehicles from Germany. The Marders will support new tank batallions equipped with the Leopard II, the daily El Mercurio reported. Currently, that's a job handled by the thinner-armored M-113. Munich-based Krauss Maffei will refurbish the Marders, which are being deployed to two armored brigades in Arica and Iquique. Deliveries are set for 2008; terms weren't given. El Mercurio's article adds that Chile's army is also looking to buy air-defense systems for its brigades. The German Gepard, long rumored to be the army's choice, and missile systems are under consideration from European and Russian sources. Elmostrador.cl, which broke the news of the Marder deal, has also reported talks to acquire a few hundred Piranha armored vehicles from Switzerland.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Contract for 12 Bell Helicopters Signed

An air force delegation stopped by the Texas headquarters of Bell Helicopter to sign a deal for 12 copies of the 412 model. Terms weren't disclosed. But earlier reports said $45 million would pay for an initial batch of four choppers.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

India, Russia Shut Out of Helicopter Deal?

The army is buying eight new AS532AL Cougar helicopters from Eurocopter. The $228 million deal includes upgrades to two Cougars already in service and various work on four AS555 light helicopters. The deal, according to reports, supplants an earlier plan to acquire used choppers from Germany. Just a few months ago, India's HAL and Russia's Rosoboronexport had each said helicopter deals with Chile were imminent. Perhaps Rosoboronexport jumped the gun, but sources have said Chile's army aviation brigade recommended the Mil Mi-17 to replace aging Pumas. HAL has been working to sell its Dhruv model to Chile for years. But it's unclear if the army has a requirement for a medium helicopter like the Dhruv.