VALPARAISO, CHILE – The Chilean Defense Ministry informed lawmakers about the purchase of 18 used, Dutch-made F-16 fighter planes.
Francisco Vidal said that the $270 million transaction was included in Chile’s plan to renovate its air force.
The acquisition will expand the Chilean military’s fleet of F-16s to 44, but the minister stressed that the new aircraft will simply replace the F-5 fighters Santiago bought from the United States three decades ago.
Vidal sidestepped potential questions and said that Chile “is not in an arms race.”
“Chile has not increased its military materiel. It has renovated its war materiel,” he said.
Vidal said that the decision to buy the jets was made a year-and-a-half ago, but the deal had just been finalized now.
“It’s a government to government negotiation and the one who made the deal was the air force through its logistics command,” he said.
The Chilean minister added that the last batch of the planes would be delivered in September 2010. EFE