Sunday, October 12, 2008

Report: Chile in Talks to Acquire More F-16s

The air force plans to acquire 16 more F-16 fighter jets from the Netherlands to replace a similar number of F-5 Tiger III fighters, according to the DPA news agency. The F-5s, with more than 30 years of service, would be retired late next year, the report added. Based in Antofagasta, the F-5s serve primarily as front-line interceptors. They've been extensively upgraded with Israeli avionics, helmet-mounted targeting systems and Python 4 and Derby air-to-air missiles. Holland still has a number of surplus F-16s that have undergone the mid-life upgrade (MLU) and are quite capable warplanes. Chile purchased 18 of these three years ago. If the deal materializes, it would likely end plans to buy fourth-generation fighters. The Eurofighter had been rumored, especially after FACh commander Ricardo Ortega took a ride in one recently.

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