Monday, June 25, 2012

What Chile's Next Military Budget Might Include

With the reform of the military budget all but a done deal, it's time to do some educated guessing on what programs are in line for the first four-year spending plan. Here are my estimations for major programs in the 2014-2018 timeframe, which would coincide with the next presidential term.
  • Airborne early warning. The sole Condor AEW plane is aged and FACH is looking at a turboprop-type platform. This is the type of weapon that can be used for anti-drug operations and has a high likelihood of being approved in time for the retirement of the Condor, perhaps in 2015.
  • Advanced jet trainer. The FACH T-36 Halcon planes are quite outdated. A plane with capabilities beyond the Pillan basic trainer and the Super Tucano is needed to fill a training gap.
  • Transport helicopters. The Army is trying to replace its old Puma helicopters with Cougar or Super Puma 'copters. This acquisition may happen before the next budget is drawn up, and perhaps as early as this year.
  • Attack helicopters. The Army has considered the Boeing AH-6 and similar light helicopters to replace about 15 MD-530 helicopter used in the scout role.
  • Submarines. The two Type 209 subs will need to be replaced in about 5-8 years. A new contract or even a request for bids may not happen in the 2014-2018 budget, but certainly in the next one.
  • Offshore patrol vessel. A slam dunk for the Navy, which has long planned to have at least four OPVs built domestically and is already at work on the third.
  • Air defense system: The Norwegian NASAMS and Avenger systems have already been selected. It's unclear if contracts will be signed before the next budget.
  • Wheeled armored vehicles. The Navy needs to equip its amphibious assault ship with 30-40 APCs. Stryker and LAV 8x8 vehicles have been rumored to be choices. This is another program that may be funded during the current presidential administration.
  • Tactical transport planes. Two or three C-130 Hercules remain in service and they are reaching the end of their useful life. Chile is one of the partners in Embraer's C-390 project and it is expected to purchase five of the planes.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles. FACH has already purchased three Hermes 900 UAVs and reports have said the Navy and Army could follow with purchases of their own.This is another system whose civilian applications make it more likely to be funded. Also expect tactical-level UAVs to be acquired.
  • Maritime patrol aircraft. The Navy's P-3 Orion fleet needs extensive repairs, and a decision has been made to replace them with C-295 Persuaders. The Navy already has acquired three Persuaders and is expected to exercise an option for five more.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

As far as advanced jet trainers go, the T-50 and F-50 would fight the Chilean air forces needs very nicely IMO.
I know a lot of FACH fans wish we could buy a squadron of F-15s or Euro-fighters or something to replace the F5; however I think the Korean plane fits into both roles as trainer and strike craft quite nicely. The T-50 is an affordable and excellent trainer, and the F-50 even with just the ELM-2032 radar and all of the available electronics for the craft, would be an excellent solution to replace the F5. A quick check of wikipedia will familiarize you to the potential the platform has in electronics and air to ground capability.
The F-50 could even pave the way for an air force wide conversion of all existing fighters to a SABR type AESA radar.

Anonymous said...

Chile's next military budget might also have included:

1) Replacement of obsolete Pilatus PC-7 aircraft
(for PC-21s) of its weak naval aviation;

2) Replacement of obsolete missile boats

J.C. Arancibia said...

Good points about missile boats and naval aviation trainers.