Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tank Sale Bolsters Assistance to Ecuador

Chile sold 30 Leopard 1 tanks to Ecuador, the latest arms export to its South American partner. Each tank went for about $500,000, according to Chile is selling or retiring more than 200 Leopard 1s as it incorporates the more-capable Leopard 2 tanks into its armor batallions. The two countries have forged a growing military alliance, in which Chile has found a customer for surplus equipment and technology. Chile sold two used frigates to Ecuador's navy last year and is upgrading two of its submarines. Although well-worn, the Leopard 1 gives Ecuador a true main battle tank. It's a significant upgrade over the French-built AMX-13 light tank. The Leopard 1's 105 mm gun is equipped with an aim-stabilization system that keeps the gun locked on target even as the tank moves. Chile's Leopards were fitted with night-vision equipment and additional armor.

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