Sunday, August 23, 2009

KC-135s, Hercules, Missile System for Chile?

The air force is acquiring two surplus KC-135E tanker planes from the U.S. in one of several purchases under discussion. The first KC-135E may be delivered as early as October, according to Enfoque Estrategico. Offers for two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft are being entertained from Norway, the U.S. and England, the report adds. The most significant acquisition under discussion involves the SPADA 2000 air defense system from the European consortium MBDA. The system would operate with Aspide missiles from Finmeccanica/Alenia and the Giraffe 3D radar from Saab Microwave. Chile's army may also buy a few C-235 and C-212 light transport planes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Conflict with Indigenous Group Flares Up

Chile faces an increasingly difficult security problem with the indigenous Mapuche community, which has been clashing with landowners and police. In one of the most serious incidents of the rebellion, a Mapuche activist was shot and killed by police Aug. 12. The Carabineros national police say the were ambushed by armed Mapuches as they sought to evict them from a farm. The officer involved, who was hit by shotgun pellets, was held pending an investigation. Mapuches quickly retaliated by burning down an agricultural warehouse. Activists in the indigenous group have been attacking agricultural and forestry operations and taking over farms in the south of Chile, demanding the return of native lands. Security in the region is worsening. Truckers and journalists are traveling in convoys to avoid attacks. Earlier this month, Mapuches complained they had been attacked by a paramilitary group, raising the possibility of a widening conflict. Meanwhile, the government became alarmed after representatives linked to the Basque separatist group ETA visited Mapuche activists.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Former Generals Held Over Tank Payments

A court has ordered two retired generals jailed in an investigation over the 1998 purchase of 202 Leopard I tanks from Holland. The two are suspected of taking bribes (nearly $300,000 each) from RDM Technology, the Dutch company that sold the tanks. Others could face charges. A payment of $1.6 million landed in the bank account of a company owned by the executor of former President Augusto Pinochet, according to reports. The investigation also is looking into an executive who brokered talks between RDM and Famae, the Chilean army's munitions company, and got a $7.5 million commission. The purchase totaled $54 million, without the commissions. Marketing, consulting and related fees are common in arms deals; the question is whether they represented a misappropriation of state funds.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Surplus Mirage Jets Sold to Ecuador

Fourteen retired Mirage 50 Pantera fighter jets have been sold to Ecuador, which will operate 10 of the planes and use the rest for parts. The deal was finalized in June but has yet to be officially announced, accoding to details reported by Enfoque Estrategico. The cost wasn't revealed. The Panteras were benched at the end of 2007, when their Punta Arenas-based squadron was deactivated. Chile has found a good customer for is surplus military equipment in Ecuador, which has acquired two Chilean frigates and sent its Type 209 submarines to Chile for upgrades.