Monday, September 28, 2009

New Navy Chief Seeks Multirole Transport Ship

The navy's next major construction project should be a multirole transport ship capable of ferrying 500 marines, said new navy commander Adm. Edmundo Gonzalez Robles. The ship would also carry three helicopters and landing craft, Gonzalez told El Mercurio de Valparaiso. Such a vessel would be used to provide aid in case of natural disaster. Of course, it could also serve Chile's peacekeeping forces abroad and in the event of armed conflict. Gonzalez hinted that an existing design could be used for the project. The navy's main transport vessel, an ex-U.S. Navy amphibious landing ship, is nearing retirement. Gonzalez also wants to add 1,000 marines plus another 1,500 personnel . A few long-range helicopters are planned, too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chile May Get into Embraer Project

Brazil's Embraer is looking for foreign partners to help develop its KC-390 military transport airplane, with Chile among the possibilities. Colombia, Portugal and South Africa also are possible partners, Dow Jones reported. Embraer is getting $21 million from Brazil's air force to start the project. Chile's air force is acquiring a dozen Super Tucano trainer aircraft from Embraer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Copper-Based Military Funding Closer to End

President Michelle Bachelet sent to Congress a bill that eliminates the use of government copper sales for military purchases. Instead, weapons systems will be funded out of the general government budget under a broad 12-year plan. The plan would break down into four-year segments in which military leaders would outline strategic needs, Defense Minister Francisco Vidal said in a briefing. The proposal does not include a spending floor, or adjustments for inflation. Specific sums would be authorized each year. Acquisitions would become more transparent, although specific capabilities would be kept secret. The military commanders are said to be in agreement. The so-called copper law has provided Chile's military with billions of dollars over the past several years, thanks to a surge in copper prices. It obligated state-owned Codelco to give 10% of sales to the armed forces for procurement.