Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chile Cedes Helicopters to Peru

In a symbol of rapprochement with its historic rival, Chile is delaying delivery of Russian-made helicopters, yielding the batch to Peru. The government of Peru has an urgent need for helicopters to fight drug operations in the country's jungle. Although it meant postponing its own acquisition, Chile agreed to let Peru jump ahead in the delivery schedule so it could get the five Mi-17 helicopters sooner. Peruvian officials thanked Chile for the decision -- a gesture of good will as both nations prepare a World Court case over their ocean boundaries. "The least we can do is recognize this gesture of friendship, generosity and selflessness," said Peruvian Defense Minister Rafael Rey. It demonstrates Chile's desire to improve relations with Peru, Rey added. The massive Feb. 27 earthquake in Chile underscored the need for helicopters and transport aircraft. Along those lines, Chile has set aside $10 million for a modest upgrade for its three C-130 Hercules planes. Each will be installed with multifunction displays, Flightglobal reported. The work will be done by Chile's Enaer.

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