Saturday, July 28, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thanks to a reader who sent data from SIPRI on Chile's defense acquisitions, here's a list of some systems that have been added in recent years but had not been reported in this blog.
- M-108 VBLC artillery command vehicle. The M-108 flopped as a 105mm self-propelled gun, but the Belgians converted them to mobile command systems. Chile bought 21 of them, which were delivered in 2009.
- Panhard PVP armored vehicles. These light 4x4 vehicles were delivered in 2010-11 for Marines working with the peacekeeping force in Haiti. Cost for the 15 vehicles was 2 million euros. Only nine have been delivered.
- M-113A2 in ambulance configuration. Germany sold 24 of these to Chile in 2009.
- SM-39 Exocet missiles. The Navy bought a dozen of these anti-ship missiles, which are fired from submarines.
- AIM-7M Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles. Bought 75 from the Dutch as part of the deal for four used frigates. Delivered in 2006-08.
- Black Shark torpedoes. One of only a few acquisitions made in Italy, 100 of these advanced torpedoes were bought in 2005-10.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Chile's armed forces appear to take a much larger role in internal security affairs under a strategic framework developed by President Sebastian Piñera's administration. The National Strategy for Security and Defense for the first time specifically puts security problems such as drug trafficking, organized crime and piracy under the broad umbrella of national defense. These unconventional threats have fundamentally changed how Chile views its security needs, the president says. Some exist on an international scale, which is of particular importance to Chile as it positions itself as global trade partner. Some politicians have criticized the plan, saying it expands the military's power into areas that aren't part of its mandate, and the policy could violate the constitution. Since the end of military rule in Chile, the Carabineros and Policia de Investigaciones have been tasked with safeguarding internal security. The National Strategy, which now goes to a legislative review, is characterized as a companion piece to the new military budget law, which is on its way to final approval. Indeed, some military acquisitions such as UAVs and maritime patrol aircraft have been made with an eye toward patrolling border areas and the vast territorial waters. The Navy, of course, has long been responsible for security of the littoral area and the exclusive economic zone.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
With Chile's government struggling with a health crisis, the Army has been sent out to provide emergency medical care to the civilian population. Mobile hospital units are operating at two hospitals in the metropolitan region, providing emergency-room treatment and hospitalization for the most ill patients. It's flu season on Chile, and a nasty virus is going around. It's estimated that cases of respiratory illness are up 70% compared with last year. So, President Sebastian Piñera ordered the Army out of the barracks and into the emergency wards. It's not the first time the Army Modular Campaign Hospital has rendered aid to civilians. In fact, it's been deployed 29 times since 2001, performing hundreds of surgeries. Its long list of missions underscores how the armed forces are an integral part of the social safety net, much like they are also the muscle of Chile's disaster response system. Update: The Army's role as administrator of social programs doesn't stop with health care. The Army also has been put in charge of a homeless shelter at a stadium. This came as a cold wave in Santiago left several homeless people dead.