March 28, 2000 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A high-level source with the Chilean Air Force told that Chile is leaning toward choosing the F-16 to restock its fleet of fighter planes.
A decision to partially restock the Chilean Air Force's fighter plane fleet has been pending for four years, during which time four companies have been vying for the contract worth a reported 600 million dollars.
The three planes still under consideration - the F/A-18 Hornet manufactured by McDonnell Aircraft and Missile Systems was rejected late last year - include the Mirage 2000-5, made by Dassault Aviation, the Jas-39 Grippen, made by SAAB A. B. and British Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin's F-16.
Chile could render a decision by as early as mid-year, military officials told EFE.
Although the government is said to favor the F-16, there has been no information regarding which model, the F-16C or the F-16D, is preferred. Most likely, an order for six planes will be placed first, then the remaining 12 planes will be purchased in two lots.