The biannual Fidae air show concluded this past weekend and, as it usually does, resulted in fresh updates on programs and acquisitions for Chile's armed forces. Here's a look at the most notable items out of the show:
The Air Force plans to purchase several medium-lift helicopters later this year. The favorite is said to be the Sikorsky Black Hawk, although the Russian Mil Mi-17, AgustaWestland AW139 and Airbus Helicopters H215M are also in contention. The $180 million deal would be for up to seven helicopters with high-altitude capabilities to operate in the Andes, in-flight refueling probes, advanced navigation systems and other equipment for combat search and rescue missions.
The Army is upgrading its SIG assault rifles under a program carried out by the military-owned Famae arms manufacturer. The upgrade includes adding Picatinny rails (to attach accessories) to the barrel portion of the gun, and a foldable buttstock, according to an article via Noticias FFAA Chile. Chile has about 50,000 serviceable SIG rifles in 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm versions. Front-line troops are being equipped with the Galil ACE 22 5.56 mm assault rifle, but other units will continue to use the SIG 540 and 542 models.
Lockheed Martin is replacing the wings on two Orion P-3 maritime reconnaissance planes, part of a midlife upgrade that includes new engines and cockpit improvements. Deliveries to the Navy are set for next year for the first plane and 2018 for the second, according to Defensa.com.