Since 2021 Infodefensa.com has been reporting on the difficult and constrained development of the project to modernize the armored fleet of the Chilean Army with a budget close to 200 million dollars, called PROCO and providing systems and electronic and solutions Famae is assigned to. Internal communication components for the Leopard 2 A4, Murder 1 A3 and M109 cars are affected by technical and logistical obsolescence.
In our first article on this topic, it was released on June 22, 2021 under the name Uncertain future of the modernization of the Chilean army and its armored fleet, in which it was reported that FAME chose the solution offered by Elbit Systems (Israel) decided to choose. System modernization for the fire control of the MBT Leopard 2A4, while OIP Land Systems (Belgium, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems) for the observation and target modernization of the Marder 1A3 tank, and the solutions offered by Aselsan ( Turkey) for cars for internal communication
What is striking about what was resolved by Famhe on that occasion in relation to the Leopard 2 A4 is that it was entirely removed from experience and links with the car’s OEM (cross-Maffei Wegmann). Then we published the article ¿Famaí put the Chilean army in check because of the false steps in the Proaco project?, which highlights the 2021 decision of the then Defense Minister Baldo Procurica to object to the award made to the modernization of Fama It has been expressed. The fire control system for Israeli Elbit Systems was not verified, due to its similarity with the modernization of the TAM tank currently under development in Argentina, which was classified as an apparent error on the part of Famae. These characteristics were a condition established by the Chilean Army as a special condition for the bidders. This forced Famae to generate a new bidding process for the solution for the MBT Leopard 2 A4.
Finally, the article, The Chilean Army doubts the success of the Leopard modernization by the management of FAMAE, published in November 2022, reported the complicated progress of the contracts awarded to OIP Land Systems (Belgium) and Turkey Aselsan, where strangely From weak legal advice to the interests of the Chilean state company, and the new bidding process for the modernization of the MBT Leopard 2A4.
Current status of proco
Despite the long passage of time and FAME’s apparent setbacks in its development, they realize that the problems in the state defense company remain and with greater acuteness; On the one hand, the ongoing contracts with OIP Land Systems for the Marder 1 A3 truck and the ongoing contracts with Aselsan have shown that the main problem for successfully integrating new components into Chilean trucks is their actual lack of experience; On the other hand, Famae has clearly not shown itself to be a very strict counterpart, as it has allowed a gradual contractual extension of prototypes and not of solutions in use, as it was necessary, which has delayed results. .
To date, OIP Land Systems has not received approval of the first unit and Aslan, despite having agreed with Famae to begin implementation of the series. The success remains doubtful, as it has not yet achieved fully functional integration into the M109 parts in terms of the required noise suppression standards, and in line with what the Marder 1 A3 and Leopard 2 A4 have not yet developed. has not been done which can be accepted. As it is conditioned for the completion of modernization which has not yet finalized the fire control systems.
Famae’s Mistakes Continue
As mentioned earlier, due to Famae’s missteps, the solution to modernize the MBT Leopard 2 A4’s fire control system is already in the third bid attempt. The new proposal was re-launched at the end of January this year, with four proposals presented: in collaboration with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co., Indra Rheinmetall LS, OIP and Asselson.
Currently, the process is in the award definition stage, with the previous stage of pre-selection already executed, where the most experienced options were rejected. Oddly enough, the only two that could demonstrate that their solutions warrant their experience in the Leopard 2 car, namely, KMW and Indra-RLS, are again in competition for the selection of experimental solutions, so once again it Questionable whether they were invited to OIP Land Systems for the knowledge of Famae and the Chilean Army. The reason that they are going to offer as a solution that was previously presented by Elbit Systems and rejected by the objection from the Ministry of Defense in 2021, added the fact that the two pre-selected None of the solutions met the requirement imposed by the Chilean Army. The selected solution must be developed and used on MBT platforms, taking into account that the platform and model on which it is installed must be indicated.
Added to the above and according to internal sources of the Chilean Army, he gave an important detail of an impromptu and uncertain letter from the Israeli Defense Attache in Chile and concurrently to other countries in the region such as Argentina, Ecuador and Paraguay, sent to the Chilean Army. Commander, General Javier Iturriaga and dated November 2022, where he openly proposed a solution to unlock and solve the problems that FEMA with the Israeli company Elbit Systems led the Leopard 2 tank modernization project Is.
This consists in transferring the execution of the project to the Elbit subsidiary (OIP Belgium), thus making a full rotation between the professional staff working for Argentina and the one working for Chile, so that the confidentiality of the project remains sufficient. relatively safe. He bases his proposal on the fact that the OIP has sufficient experience as it is currently developing the observation and targeting modernization of the Marder 1 A3 tanks, also for Chile, which was previously raised with non-compliance Was.
Need for change
In the absence of profound and immediate changes during the proaco at the government level, the future of the MBT Leopard 2A4 as the main weapon system of the Chilean Army is at risk, due to the uncertainty involved in implementing the solutions demonstrated with solid information. Not done, which are in use on the MBT Leopard 2A4. It is strongly striking that the solutions chosen by Famae do not have this requirement, which is specifically set by the Chilean Army and it is not demanding compliance with it, even more so when in real-world experience with MBTs Companies holding Leopard 2 have been abandoned in the first phase. Could it be that the technical requirements are interestingly poorly stated? Given the obvious facts, has the murky nature of Famae’s bidding processes for this and other projects of strategic interest been assessed? And given the time that has passed since the allocation of the budget, market costs do not allow to cover the entire fleet of MBT Leopard 2A4 and to reconsider the amounts involved and anticipate completion in the near future may be necessary. Protecting the effective operational capabilities of the most powerful weapon system of the ground forces.
What is happening with the Proaco project is a clear example of the need for defense investments made by the armed forces to be necessarily monitored and controlled by a specialized body of the Ministry of Defense and the competition that exists with governments in general. Chile has signed cooperation agreements, so that the Ministry, through its own supervision and control, ensures that the strategic objectives and capabilities established for the forces are met with the maximum possible efficiency.
Finally, in this case, the comparison serves to further support what their Chilean defense peers (Asmar and Enar) recently stated at the LAAD fair held last April in Brazil with their important projects under development Was. Something has been going on in Famae for a long time that does not allow its management to make the leap to modernity and does not allow it to get away from the ghosts that affect the transparency of procurement processes to third parties. If they do not make profound changes, they may regret the closure of the oldest company in Chile and the region.