Monday, August 15, 2011

The Shape of Things to Come

With the modernization of its warplanes, armor and warships essentially complete, Chile is turning its attention to improving its command, control and communications (C3) capabilities. The new acquisition of Hermes 900 UAVs, which include electro-optical equipment, is part of a program by the armed forces to expand intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems. Operated by the Air Force, the UAVs will -- among other things -- support land and coastal operations. Meanwhile, the 2010 purchase of 34 Man Portable MIDS-JTRS/HMS radios from General Dynamics make it possible for ground troops to link up directly with air-support aircraft. On a broader scale, Chile wants to purchase three Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control systems from Northrop Grumman. The system collects target information from sensors such as Sentinel radars and AWACS planes and integrates it into a comprehensive tactical picture. From there, commanders can send orders to their anti-aircraft units, ranging from man-portable heat-seeking missile units to Avenger mobile missile units (which also are planned for purchase). Radio, GPS and position location systems round out FAAD. Chile also is considering replacing its single Condor (Phalcon) airborne early warning radar aircraft, and has been reviewing the C-295 AEW from Airbus Military and Israel Aerospace Industries, according to Jane's Defence Weekly. The plane fits with FACH's preference for a turboprop platform for this role, and the Navy already operates the C-295 Persuader maritime reconnaissance plane.

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