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MILTECH
Chile opts for refurbished U.S. howitzers
by Staff Writers
Santiago, Chile (UPI) Aug 24, 2011

Chile will spend $7 million as part of its long-standing plan to build a mechanized artillery battalion in which refurbished U.S.-made howitzers will play a significant part.

Chile has been canvassing for the U.S. artillery-related systems to join its inventory for the planned battalion and was granted clearance for the move as far back as 2009.

However, it's taken the process all this time to reach the present level and it may still be a while before the refurbished howitzer units enter the Chilean armed services.

The Chilean request centers on 24 of the BAE Systems' M109 tracked self-propelled howitzers, 24 of which the Latin American country already owns. It also includes necessities such as shells, tracking radars and accompanying personnel carriers.

Chile has two models of the M109 self-propelled howitzer in service and the new order is likely to double its available fleet to a total of 48, a Pentagon announcement said.

Chile's current stock of 24 M109s is comprised of KAWEST versions, which were upgraded by Switzerland's RUAG and sold to Chile at the end of 2004.

The Swiss upgrades included an L47 gun with assisted range of 22 miles and three-round burst capability over 15 seconds, six crew members instead of eight, carriage of 40 rounds and 64 charges, improved electrical systems, an integrated inertial navigation and positioning system, day and night capability, and added protection against fire, nuclear electro-magnetic pulse radiation and nuclear, biological and chemical threats.

The new approximately $7 million firm-fixed-price contract for BAE Systems Land and Armaments, L.P., will cover only a dozen of the additional 24 howitzers acquired by Chile, indicating work on the other dozen was already completed.

The order was believed to include one batch of 12 M-109A3 and one of a dozen M-109A5 howitzers.

A Pentagon announcement said the new contract will modify an existing contract to refurbish 12 M109A+ self-propelled howitzers at the BAE York, Pa., facility with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2012. It didn't say which of the two models would undergo the upgrade.

Chile is investing heavily to modernize its ground, air and naval forces with the focus on improving capability for command, control and communications.

It recently acquired Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicles to help support land and coastal operations. Last year Chile bought the General Dynamics portable MIDS-JTRS/HMS radios and has expressed interest in purchasing at least three units of a Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control system from Northrop Grumman.

Chile also wants to replace its single Condor or Phalcon airborne early warning radar aircraft and has been reviewing the C-295 AEW from Airbus Military and Israel Aerospace Industries, Jane's Defense Weekly reported.




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Northrop Grumman Wins Mission Command Training Contract
Herndon VA (SPX) Aug 23, 2011
The Department of the Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command Center - Fort Eustis has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to provide training and technical services in support of the U.S. Army Mission Command Training Program (MCTP). The $388.4 million cost plus award fee contract includes a one-year base with four option years. Work will be performed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. a ... read more


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