Chilean Navy Seeking New Coastal SAR Aircraft

A public tender has been launched to acquire seven twin-engined aircraft for the Chilean Navy, which will use them for coastal maritime patrol, search and rescue and maritime policing duties. They will replace the Navy’s Cessna O-2A Sykmasters, which currently undertake the role. The latter are all former US Air Force aircraft that were acquired in 1997, but were built in 1968-9. Operated by VC-1 at Base Aeronaval Concón-Viña del Mar, they have now reached the end of their service lives.

Details of the requirements for their replacement were published on January 16 in one of the country’s national newspapers by Chile’s Dirección General de Territorio Marítimo y da Marina Mercante (DIRECTEMAR). The Navy has been seeking new aircraft for the role for several years, but had not opened a formal competition for the requirement until now. DIRECTIMAR stipulates a requirement for delivery of the first two aircraft in 2016, with the remaining five to follow in 2017. Alan Warnes