Chile may buy what could become a family of unmanned air vehicles encompassing hand-launched close-range, short-range tactical and endurance tactical systems. The Chilean armed forces are assessing the potential of a joint programme, although immediate requirements have been identified for close- and short-range systems for the army.

Chile X-02 demonstrator UAV W250

© Tim Bicheno-Brown /Flight International

The joint-service studies include examination of imagery handling requirements for UAV systems and how these would integrate into existing Chilean command and control systems. While no competitive tender is expected before early 2007, potential bidders exploring the army requirement during FIDAE included Boeing, Elbit Systems, Inta, Israel Aircraft Industries, L-3-BAI Aerosystems, Rafael and Ucon Systems.

BAI Aerosystems officials at the show said the final requirement “could range from multi-tiered to single platforms. They are in a phase of educating themselves, defining what the requirement is.”

Boeing has briefed Chilean military and civil authorities on its ScanEagle system, including options for leasing services for coastal surveillance.

The Chilean air force aeronautical academy used FIDAE to unveil its Project Vantapa tactical UAV demonstration system. Launched in late 2002, this comprises the 5.5m (18ft) wingspan X-02 air vehicle – which made its first flights last year – and a ground control station. A final air vehicle is expected to have a 7h endurance and an operational radius of 450km (240nm).

Source: Flight International