Monday, November 11, 2013
New Details on U.S. Cooperation, Attack Helicopter Plans
The U.S. has taken advantage of its military cooperation with Chile to help train for the war in Afghanistan. Texas National Guard units have trained in Chile's mountainous desert, which bears a resemblance to the Afghan landscape. "The area (northern Chile) is very cold and mountainous much like Afghanistan," Lt. Col. Ricardo Santander of the Chilean Army, said in a U.S Army website. "It provides excellent training opportunities for Chilean and U.S. forces." Personnel from the Texas Air National Guard and Chile's armed forces have trained together several times. The U.S. also has a joint training facility for peacekeeping forces in Chile. More interesting was Santander's comment on helicopter acquisition plans: "One of my goals is to find the Chilean army some new helicopters," Santander said. "We have many transport helicopters, but are looking to add attack helicopters." That's the first time a high-ranking Chilean military official confirms plans to purchase attack helicopters, an acquisition that has been rumored for a while. The Chilean Army's recent decision to sell its two Super Puma helicopters, three C-212 light transport planes and a Citation III executive jet could be setting the stage for the purchase of aviation assets.