Friday, January 18, 2008

A310 Tankers To Lack Refueling Boom

Chile's new A310 MRTT tanker/transport planes won't have an in-flight refueling boom, Jane's Defence Weekly reported. The planes will have a hose-and-drogue system, but the booms were dropped on "operational and financial grounds." While the A310s can refuel the F-5 Tiger III fighters, they cannot support the more modern F-16s. The Jane's article also noted several defense programs planned for 2008, including an order for 14-20 turboprop trainers and a competition for advanced trainers. Chile's air force also is seeking used Hercules transport planes to upgrade and replace older C-130B aircraft. (Only one of six acquired is still in service). Two existing C-130H planes are to go through a life-extension program. The Condor (Phalcon) AWACS plane is being overhauled to keep it flying until 2016. In the navy, the Cougar attack helicopters also will go a life extension, though a date wasn't given. The frigate Williams goes into refit in March in which a 3-D radar, communications suite, Oto Melara gun and Harpoon missiles will be added.

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