Chile Strives for Excellence
Chile, the other nation on the southern tip of the continent, faces a completely different scenario. Its military continues to savour the spoils of a decade-long modernisation programme that has made it one of the region's best-equipped forces.
In late 2014 the Chilean Army took delivery of its last two batches of 24 BAE Systems M109A3/A5 155 mm SPHs as replacements for its AMX Mk-F3 155 mm systems. The new guns join a batch of 24 M109A3s procured from Ruag a decade earlier. A further batch of about 100 Leopard 2s appears to have been discarded, as current tank holdings are considered adequate.
Attention is now being placed on enhancing the army's fighting capabilities in quality rather than quantity, with force multipliers such as a new command-and-control (C2) system and battlefield management tools.
In the next few years the most pressing Chilean hardware need will be for new 6x6 and/or 8x8 armoured vehicles to replace the army's current staple of home-grown Piranhas, for which the Iveco Guarani and the General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) LAV III are the most likely contenders. The Chilean Army also needs a few armed reconnaissance helicopters to replace its McDonnell Douglas MD 530F scouts and will also benefit from expanding its medium transport assets with up to 12 additional Airbus Helicopters H225M (formerly EC725) Cougars or Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks.