Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chile Seeks To Export More Arms

Having acquired fighter jets, warships and armored vehicles, Chile is putting its old military hardware up for sale. The first significant deal is the sale of two Leander-class frigates to Ecuador. In an unusual financing arrangement, Ecuador would pay for the ships by opening up exploration of the Gulf of Guayaquil to Chile's Empresa Nacional del PetrĂ³leo (ENAP), and share the oil and gas production. Ecuador's president said last month the oil-for-ships deal is needed to defend that nation against drug runners, human smugglers and pirates. Ecuador already operates two Leanders, but one is practically retired and will be scuttled to keep the second one sailing. Ecuador and Chile share a historic adversary in Peru. Meanwhile, Chile is entertaining offers for its retired Mirage warplanes and AMX-30 tanks. In the past, Chile had exported mainly small arms. Its biggest export success has been the Pillan trainer airplane, sold to Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Paraguay, Spain, Dominican Republic and Ecuador.

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