A proposal to delink the copper trade from defense procurement in Chile may upset calculations of defense companies who consider the South American country a potential gold mine for contracts.
The new legislation which aims at doing away with a law that requires the copper industry to fund military procurement has been criticized for lacking coherent vision.
As the presidential term of Sebastian Pinera comes to a close, there are plans to eradicate the copper tax that provides Chile's military with billions of dollars, the Chilean defense blog said.
Replacing the tax will be a four-year spending program that will respond to the military's strategic needs.
With changes in the air, Chile is said to be planning a procurement of 12 AAV7 armored amphibious vehicles from U.S for its new sea-borne Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade. The vehicles are being acquired from excess inventory of U.S. stockpiles but will be upgraded before they are put into service, Chile officials were quoted as saying.
The purchase will include 10 AAVP7 A1 troop transports, one AAVC7 command vehicle and one AAVR7 recovery vehicle.
The vehicles, once commissioned, will be part of a 1,400-strong brigade Chile operates aboard its Sargento Aldea multirole assault ship, acquired from France in a $80 million deal.
The Army is also seeking to acquire at least four medium-size transport airplanes after retiring its C-212 planes.
Army commander Gen. Juan Miguel Fuente-Alba told El Mercurio that the Army may request bids or negotiate directly with the manufacturer of a plane that meets requirements. The planes that fit the requirements are the Airbus C-235 and C-295, the Alenia C27J and the Russian made Antonov 32, according to El Mercurio.
Chile is also said to be a potential customer for the South Korean FA-50 aircraft. However, there is no official word on any potential sale.