Sunday, May 4, 2014
Rocket Program Puts Lesser-Known Company in Spotlight
While the Army's armaments manufacturer and Israel Military Industries are the main developers of Chile's new multiple launch rocket system, a third company is playing a key role in the program. Desarrollos de Automatizacion (DESA) is providing the fire control system for the SLM Famae. Unlike the other major defense companies in Chile, DESA is a private firm, and it's been involved in a number of electronic upgrades for the Army and Navy for more than 20 years. DESA started out in 1993, when it won a contract for a fire-control system for the Navy's SAAR-3 missile boats. Since then, it has built integrated combat, command and control, artillery fire direction and other systems. It also upgraded the Goalkeeper Close-In Weapon System used in some of Chile's frigates. Web searches turn up little about the company, yet its resume makes DESA perhaps the most advanced military contractor in Chile. Now, it has a stake in the country's top weapons program. The SLM Famae is a truck-mounted launcher that can accommodate any type of artillery rocket. Using rockets developed by IMI, the SLM Famae can hit targets 10 km to 150 km away within a 10-meter circle of error. DESA's fire-control system was practically tailor-made for the SLM Famae, a company executive told Defense News, but it can be used on any artillery rocket or self-propelled howitzer system.