Sunday, March 29, 2015
The arduous job of clearing Chile's minefields reached a milestone this month, when Isla Grande in Tierra Del Fuego was declared free of landmines. But the achievement also served as a reminder of just how much more work is still needed to rid the country of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. After clearing more than 96,000 anti-personnel mines, the task is barely half completed. In the far south region of Magallanes, 78% of mines are gone. The minefields near the borders with Peru and Bolivia are farther behind. Still, Chile has a target date of 2020 to complete the job, which is obligated to perform as a signer of the Ottawa Convention. The mines were Chile's answer to the threat of war with Argentina in 1978, when Argentina had a far superior military and Chile was coping simultaneously with a threatened attack from Peru. The crises eventually abated, but the landmines remain a legacy of those tense days. Traditionally, mines have served the weaker armies with an effective way to confront adversaries. Mines have a deleterious effect on maneuver forces, if not a lethal one. At least the problem is manageable in Chile, which charted all of its minefields. In many other countries, it's anyone's guess where mines have been laid.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The Air Force is making some modest acquisitions, including two or three Black Hawk helicopters and jet engines for the F-16 fighter. The commander of the Third Air Brigade in Puerto Montt confirmed the helicopters would be added to the single Black Hawk that FACh already operates out of that base. That helicopter, of the S-70A-39 version, was acquired in 1998. Chile did not exercise options to acquire 11 more, leaving it the only Black Hawk in the Air Force inventory, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The commander did not say what country is selling the helicopters, and there's no confirmation from the Pentagon. The U.S. Defense Dept. did list a contract to Pratt & Whitney to rebuild F110 engines, the type used in the F-16, for Chile. The contract is part of a modernization program for the front-line fighter fleet.