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Ejército de Chile

The Chilean Brigada de Aviación del Ejército plays a vital role in supporting the troops and for disaster relief duties throughout the country. We take a look at their assets.

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Spearheading the aviation brigade’s helicopter fleet is the MD530F. Tasked with reconnaissance, scouting, liaison, artillery spotting, close air support and every other thinkable task they are well-loved. This example, H-133, is seen at Talca’s 16th Infantry Regiment barracks.

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All active helicopters sport names of mountain ranges on their noses, you can just see it on the door beneath the Chilean flag. H-197 on the left has 'Co El Roble' and H-131 on the right has 'Co Tapaca'; Co stands for Cerro, which is Spanish for mountain.

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Because the AS350 Ecureuil fleet is spread over the elongated country, they are seldom spotted in large numbers. So this AS350B-3 H-177 'Co Dragon' was a lucky catch at Rancagua Army Air Base. Apart from the Aviation Brigade Headquarters, the transport helicopters and maintenance is situated there as well.

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Even rarer is the single Helibras build Twin Squirrel, or Fennec, H-271. It has been on strength since 2010. The door is open, showing to good effect the nickname of this bird 'Co Manquehue'

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For some this may be a familiar sight. Most of the Puma-fleet routed through the UK either for upgrade to SA330L standard by Bristow, like this H-258 'Co Challay' did in 1997, or for onward sale. Some were stored at Kemble for a while. After rework at Airbus Helicopter's subsidiary IAR Brasov, three were redelivered and are still operated by the Chilean army.

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BAVE’s newest workhorse is the AS532AL.At first they were delivered in a green/brown/grey colour scheme as is seen here on H-280 'Co Huentelauquen'.

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The later deliveries, like H-284 'Co El Plomo', are painted in the new sand/green/grey colour scheme. This one is basking in the sun after yet another relief support mission in the Talca area after the terrible Maremoto in 2010.

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Three Caravans are operated for general transport duties throughout the country. This E-133 is on maintenance. Contrary to the helicopters, the fixed wing aircraft are named after volcanoes. This one has 'Vn Osorno' allocated.

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Casa has had a long standing relationship with BAVE. The first major transport aircraft used was the C212. All but two, E-231 and E-232, are now up for sale. Later, three CN235s were delivered and after one of them crashed, it was replaced by a former Irish Air Corps aircraft. Here E-216 'Vn Lonquimay' is on final approach for runway 17L at A.M.Benitez Int’l.

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Chile is a vast country and the CN235 provides a means of regular supply to all army brigades. E-218 'Vn Parinacota' taxies out after picking up cargo at Grupo 10's hangars.

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To transport commanding officers, cabinet ministers and other VIP's, the army curently uses a single Cessna 680. The old Ce650 E-304 seen here, is now for sale.

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The Cessna R172K was used for many years but has recently been superseded by some newly built Ce172S. The lineage of Cessna started with the 152 model, the first of which is preserved at the martyr's memorial on Rancagua Army Air Base. The legend reads Primeros en los cielos de la Patria, 'the first in the skies of the motherland.'

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By 2017, ten AS532AL were delivered providing a formidable backbone to the Ejercito.