- The Army has finally decided on a new standard assault rifle: the Galil ACE 5.56 mm built by Israel Weapon Industries. The Galil rifles will be assembled by the Army-operated Famae armament company, which also will manufacture some of the parts.
- Famae introduced a mobile multiple launch rocket system. The SLM has been developed with Israel's IMI, which makes the Lynx MLRS. The project is a surprise for Famae, which developed an MLRS with Britain's Royal Ordnance more than 10 years ago, only to abandon it for lack of demand.
- The Army accepted delivery of the first Cougar AS532 ALe, the newest version of Eurocopter's medium helicopter. Defense News reported the Army could receive at least 20 AS532 helicopters under current plans. The report is a sign the Army has finalized plans to bolster its airlift capabilities, including the formation of a new air cavalry brigade. The older Puma and Super Puma helicopters are being removed from service.
- U.S.-based Merex Group has signed an contract to rebuild the wings of the F-5 Tiger III fighter planes operated by FACh. Air Force-owned Enaer will be a partner in the project. The program indicates that FACh will not be retiring the F-5 squadron any time soon, as had been speculated.
- Airbus and Enaer are expanding their cooperation agreement to include maintenance of Airbus-built transport planes, including the C-295 and C-212. Under the new agreement, Airbus will provide additional support for maintenance and a potential upgrade of the FACh T-36 and A-36 Halcon trainers and light-attack aircraft. Chile's Army and Navy have retired their C-212 planes, but FACh still operates a few. Other South American countries also have C-212s.
- Russia, which has never made a military sale in Chile, is campaigning to end the dryspell. Rosoboronexport is renewing negotiations for the sale of helicopters to Chile. Talks on a potential purchase ended in February 2010, when the earthquake and tsunami forced Chile to change its fiscal priorities, according to Rianovosti.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
FIDAE Update: Aircraft Upgrades, New Rocket System, Galils and Cougars for Army
The FIDAE air show is going on in Santiago this week, and several upgrade programs and acquisitions have been announced, many of them for the Army: