Sunday, May 23, 2010

Infantry Training, Lasertag Style

Chile's army operates an infantry training center that uses laser technology to simulate live-fire combat. The center is similar to the US Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California, although in a much smaller scale. The center is located at an army facility in Peldehue, about 40 km north of Santiago, where army special forces also train. The laser technology is much like the laser tag games. Soldiers use a rifle with a laser beam and aim it an opponent. If the "shot" is successful, detectors worn by the troops identify the opponent as a casualty. The Peldehue center is one of several in Chile where simulators are used. The air force has flight simulators for some of its aircraft; the army also has a training simulator for tank crews.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

First C-295 Airplane Delivered to Navy

The navy has received the first of three C-295 maritime reconnaissance aircraft purchased from EADS/CASA. The plane will be used for search and rescue, patrol and anti-submarine missions. The C-295, plus options for five more, were acquired under a plan to replace all navy fixed-wing aircraft. The navy's current fleet includes the P-3 Orion, Embraer P-111 and C-212 light transports. Chile's territorial waters span more than five times the country's land mass.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Defense Funds Tapped for Earthquake Reconstruction

Chile will take $1.2 billion from funds initially set aside for weapons purchases to finance reconstruction programs. Half the sum will be spent directly on rebuilding projects, according to details provided by Defense Minister Jaime Ravinet. The armed forces will spend the other half to rehabilitate their own facilities damaged in the Feb. 27 earthquake. Specifically, $150 million will go to army facilities, $200 million to the heavily damaged Asmar shipyard, and $250 million to other military installations. Chile's legislature still must approve the funding, which would be spread out over this year and next. The $1.2 billion represents roughly a third of a funding pool that swelled thanks to soaring copper prices. Chile's state-owned copper company is mandated to give 10% of export sales to the military. But Chile is working to replace that system with another that doesn't rely on copper sales. The Asmar shipyard was the military installation most severely damaged in the quake. Chile recently signed an accord with Argentina to have that country take some of the work that Asmar cannot complete on time.