The FACh has just one airborne early warning asset in the form of a second-hand Boeing 707 that was modified to Phalcon standard by IAI and ELTA in Israel during the early 1990s. Source: IHS/Gareth Jennings
As the premier defence aerospace event in Latin America, the FIDAE Airshow affords the Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aérea de Chile: FACh) a biennial opportunity to showcase its capabilities.
During FIDAE 2016, being held in the Chilean capital from 29 March to 3 April, the FACh will display key assets from its fixed-, rotary-, and unmanned inventories, including the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, Bell 412EP support helicopter, and Elbit Systems Hermes 900 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Widely regarded to be one of the most professional and capable air arms in Latin America, the FACh is enjoying the benefits of a long modernisation programme that has moulded its inventory into an effective and balanced force. Over the past few years it has acquired new F-16s fighters, Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano trainers, 412EP tactical helicopters, Hermes 900 UAV and Cirrus SR22T intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, and KC-135E Stratotanker aircraft. The service is currently in the process of procuring medium transport aircraft and helicopters, while a new lead-in fighter trainer is also on the horizon.
Delivery of new and second-hand F-16s to the FACh began in 2005, significantly enhancing the service's combat capability and allowing retirement of the outdated Elkan (Mirage 5) and Pantera (Mirage 50) platforms. In addition to 10 newbuild F-16Cs and F-16Ds acquired through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Peace Puma programme, Chile also acquired two separate lots of 18 surplus aircraft from the Netherlands between 2006 and 2011 as part of the Amstel I and II programmes. All aircraft have been modernised by Empresa Nacional de Aeronautica de Chile (ENAER), which has prolonged their service life by another approximately 15 years. Therefore, the procurement of new aircraft is not pressing, but Chile is already considering options for the replacement of the Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II fleet.