Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Promises of Aircraft and UAVs, but Few Details
In a rare public announcement of military acquisition plans, Chile says it will add three Hercules C-130H transport planes to supplement the air force's airlift capabilities. The acquisition — disclosed in an annual document outlining major government programs and goals — doesn't say from what country the planes are being purchased or if the planes will replace the old Hercules now in service with FACh. The H series Hercules were first delivered in the 1960s, so FACh certainly isn't getting any aircraft in their prime. President Michelle Bachelet's message merely said the planes will be used for troop transport, disaster relief and to reach remote areas of the country — roles that military aviation habitually handles. The government also said plans are proceeding for the purchase of multipurpose medium helicopters, a program that was announced earlier this year. The number or model of the helicopters is not mentioned, and the only background provided is that they'll be used for military operations and disaster relief. In addition, Chile says it will continue to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). But again, no details on how many or what type. The only detail provided is that the UAVs will be used for surveillance, reconnaissance and, of course, assistance in case of natural disasters. For the Navy, the only acquisition program mentioned was the replacement of the Skymaster light naval reconnaissance planes with P68 aircraft. Deliveries end in 2017. The Army is set to acquire 330 trucks of various types, with the priority going to vehicles capable of handling evacuations and cargo transport. Indeed, Chile is not preparing for war, but for the next natural disaster. Bachelet's document also says the Army is developing new electronic warfare systems and is implementing an integrated data and communications system to better track and control troop movements.