New Chilean Navy SAR aircraft integrated

One of the new aircraft. Credit: Armada de Chile

The Chilean Navy has announced that the last two of its new fleet of seven P68 Observer 2 fixed-wing aircraft will soon begin operations for marine SAR and patrol purposes.

The Italian-built aircraft have been brought in as part of the Piquero project, and have a lower fuel consumption and better technology than their Skymaster predecessors, according to the Navy. The aircraft boast infrared cameras with a range of 25 km (16 miles). The planes have already used these capabilities during the recent wildfires in the country. Also on the equipment list are wing-mounted rescue pods that can be dropped during flight.

The commander of the squadron that will operate the aircraft, Captain Corvette Miguel Gallegos, stated: “The main differences between these the former aircraft and are mainly in their equipment and their greater patrol capacity. We can now patrol the 200-mile exclusive economic area in complete safety.”

Gallegos added that the new aircraft have a lot of flexibility of operation, being able to do many missions more efficiently to help Navy the fulfil its search and patrol responsibilities.

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