Saturday, July 25, 2009

Army Hiring 2,000 for Career Positions

Chile's army is hiring the first 2,000 soldiers as part of its modernization. By next year, a total of 5,200 troops will be on the payroll. The job requirements: Age 19-24, at least 2 years of high school, clean criminal record, single, no children. Applicants also must pass physical and psychological evaluations. The jobs are open to current enlistees, although people without military service can also apply. If hired, soldiers serve for five years and can apply to become noncomissioned officers. Professional soldiers are being counted on to provide the skilled labor to operate the new generation of high-tech weaponry and support systems.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Aircraft Acquisitions Top $500 Million

The purchase of eight CASA/EADS C-295 maritime patrol airplanes and eight Cougar helicopters total $250 million, Reuters reported. Subtracting the $80 million for the Cougars, that means the C-295s cost $170 million. The deal for 18 updated F-16 fighter jets from Holland, now confirmed, was estimated at $270 million. Total tab for the new aircraft: $520 million. That includes some training and logistical support. A separate deal for Mi-17 helicopters from Russia is estimated at $75 million.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How Chilean Soldiers Are Outfitted

The typical Chilean infantry soldier serving in the northern desert region carries five 30-round clips of ammo, night-vision goggles, a GPS beacon, Gore-Tex clothing, trekking shoes and the usual accoutrements. An army Web site shows that Camelbak water packs are optional, as are some other luxuries of combat.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Documents In Mirage Deal Were Destroyed

Documents detailing payments for the 1994 acquisition of Belgian fighter jets were burned, a probe into the deal has found. Investigators have now subpoenaed the former air force chief who ordered the papers destroyed, and the government comptroller who gave the go-ahead. Current Defense Minister Francisco Vidal also was ordered to testify. Ex-air force officials and others are accused of receiving illegal commissions in the acquisition of 25 Mirage 5 jets.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Images of Army Copters Surface

Pictures of the army's new transport helicopters have surfaced on the Internet, confirming they are AS-532 Cougars. The pictures were taken just outside a Eurocopter facility. Chile, which has yet to announce the acquisition, had agreed to acquire eight helicopters to replace about a dozen AS-330 Pumas. The more-advanced EC-725 was another model believed to have been considered. The AS-532 has a crew of two and can carry up to 25 troops.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Russian Helicopters May Start Arriving in 2010

The first of five Mil Mi-17 helicopters could start service with the Chilean air force next year. The Ministry of Defense is still negotiating the purchase, according to La Tercera. It would be the first time Chile acquires Russian-made military hardware. The Mi-17 is a reliable aircraft that costs a lot less than comparable helicopters. More details are in a December post.