Procurement: March 4, 2002


Chile has confirmed that it will buy seven F-16C and three F-16D fighters from the US. These are to be new production from the latest Block-52 series and will be delivered in 2004-2007. Total cost will be $650 million. Plans to buy two refurbished KC-135 tankers were dropped as too expensive; Chile is considering the conversion of two of its C-130s into tankers. The deal threatens to trigger an arms race in South America, albeit one that would have started in any case. Peru is seeking upgrades for its MiG-29s, Bolivia is shopping for its first high-performance fighters, and Argentina must replace its old Mirages in the next two or three years.--Stephen V Cole


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