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Chile requests support for F-16 MLUs and sale of LAU-129/A

October 1, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Government of Chile has requested program support for their F-16 Mid-Life Update aircraft (MLU) they acquired from the Netherlands and the sale of 28 LAU-129/A launchers.

FACh F-16BM #732 is spotted at the arrival ceremony on its new airbase B.A. Cerro Moreno in September of 2006. [Photo by Dutch MoD]

The program support for the F-16s consists of support equipment, spare and repair parts, program support, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment and contractor technical and logistics personnel services.

The LAU-129/A they also requested is a Common Rail Launcher (CRL) for the AIM-9 and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles.

The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $ 123 million.

US Congress has been notified by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) about this possible sale.

Chile is modernizing its antiquated Air Force fleet. As the Chilean Air Force equips these aircraft so that they can launch modern missiles and become operational, it plans to retire its entire French Mirage aircraft fleet.

Last year 18 F-16 MLUs were acquired from the Netherlands at a cost of $185 million. Although those aircraft were constructed in the middle of the eighties, they were updated to the MLU standard, which will allow them to operate alongside their new F-16 C/D block 50's using similar armaments.