Saturday, May 19, 2012

Turkish Military Industry Makes Inroads in Chile

The defense leaderships of Chile and Turkey have signed a cooperation agreement that could bring new business for defense contractors of both nations. Already, military officials have made a flurry of visits, including a Turkish delegation that toured Famae and Asmar facilities. The head of Chile's Navy, Adm. Juan Gonzales Fuentealba, visited the Anadolu Shipyard, where he reportedly expressed keen interest in the company's landing ships. Chile's ambassador to Turkey, Jorge Arancibia, who happens to be a former commander of the Navy, joined in the visit. Chile and Turkey have in common some key weapons systems, including F-16 fighter jets (some Chilean pilots trained in Turkey, in fact), Leopard 1 tanks and Type 209 submarines.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Army Factory Rolls Out Support Vehicles

Famae, the Army-owned munitions company, has developed a couple of logistical support vehicles. Although you won't find them on Famae's website, videos on YouTube show a bridge layer that uses a Leopard 1 chassis, and an M-548 munitions carrier that has been modified to carry fuel and serve as a mobile gas station. Famae is primarily a manufacturer of munitions, anything from 9mm rounds to 155mm artillery shells, and small arms such as assault rifles and submachineguns. Every once in a while, the company tries its hand at bigger projects. In the 1980s, it built some Piranha armored vehicles under license from Mowag.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Navy Gets Some Badly Needed Helicopters

Chile's Navy recently took delivery of two Eurocopter Super Puma helicopters that were bought used from a private company. The AS332L Super Pumas are equipped for transport, patrol and search & rescue missions. With room for more than a dozen troops, they are large enough to carry a squad for interdiction operations. Up to now, the Navy had only one other similar Cougar helicopter capable of such a passenger load; its Dauphin light helicopters are exclusively for patrol and SAR. Chile's Navy has been a longtime operator of the Super Puma/Cougar helicopter family. It acquired seven in 1990: six for anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare and one for transport. Two of the weaponized helicopters have been lost to accidents, leaving just four still in service plus the three now operating as as transports. The Navy's Proyecto Ícaro envisioned the acquisition of five transport helicopters, but funding for the full program never materialized. With the arrival of a new multi-role ship, interest has increased to add ship-borne helicopters, and the head of the Navy's aviation arm, Rear Adm. Alberto Undurraga, told that hopes are to secure funding for the three remaining aircraft in the "medium term."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Submarine, Patrol Boat to be Built

A steel company in Chile is planning to build a submarine, which would be the first such project in Chile. The Crocodile Class 250 sub will be used for research and rescues, and would not have military capabilities. Still, Chilean officials laud the effort, even though the Navy has not agreed to acquire the sub. The Crocodile -- being built by a company named Vapor Industrial -- can operated at a depth of 300 meters with a maximum endurance underwater of three hours. Meanwhile, the Navy-owned Asmar shipyard is building a third offshore patrol vessel for the Armada. The new ship will vary slightly from two sister ships already delivered: It will have a hardened hull to operate in Artic waters and better weaponry. The vessels are based on the German Fassmer OPV 80 design. The 1,900-ton ships have a maximum speed of 20 knots, maximum endurance of 30 days and a crew of up to 60. The main armament is a 40 mm gun, plus several .50-caliber machine guns. The first two were delivered in 2008-09. UPDATE: A 76mm gun, reinforced hull and navigation system will increase the cost of the new offshore patrol vessel by 43% over earlier boats. The total cost was not given.