Country Listing

Chile Table of Contents



Armed Forces: Despite seventeen years of military rule (1973-90), still exceptionally professional and generally free of factionalism or partisan politics. In 1992 combined strength at least 91,800 (including 54,000 army, 25,000 navy, and 12,800 air force). Army reserves additional 50,000.

Defense Budget: Defense budget averaged US$1 billion annually in 1990-93. Annual average imports of major conventional arms US$212 million in 1987-91; as a percentage of national imports in 1990, 3.0 percent.

Military Units: Army organized into seven military areas (Áreas Militares--AMs)--headquartered in Antofagasta, Santiago, Concepción, Valdivia, Punta Arenas, Iquique, and Coihaique--and seven divisions, one for each AM. Navy organized into four naval zones, headquartered in Iquique, Punta Arenas, Talcahuano, and Valparaíso. Operational command included Fleet, Submarine Command, and Transport Force. Navy included Navy Infantry Corps (4,200 marines), Naval Aviation (750 members), and Coast Guard (1,500 members). Air Force organized into three commands--Combat, Personnel, and Logistics--four air brigades, and twelve groups or squadrons. Air brigades headquartered in Iquique, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. Also operated an airbase on King George Island, Antarctica.

Military Equipment: Ground forces equipped with fortyseven AMX-13 light tanks and twenty-one AMX-30 medium battle tanks from France; fifty M-41, sixty M-24, and 150/M51 Super-Sherman tanks from United States/Israel; and 500 armored personnel carriers (APCs) from Brazil and 100 from United States. Navy ships include four missile destroyers, two missile frigates, and four submarines. Marines equipped with forty French APCs. Air force equipment includes sixteen F-5 fighters from United States, fifteen Dassault Mirage fighters from France, and thirty-two Hawker Hunters from Britain, as well as twenty Chilean-made strike aircraft and sixtyeight trainers (made partially or wholly by Chile).

Police: Official name: Forces of Order and Public Security. Consist of two separate law-enforcement forces: Carabineros (national, 31,000-member paramilitary police force) and Investigations Police (national, 4,000-member plainclothes organization). Carabineros organized into three main zones-- Northern, Central, and Southern--with marine and air sections. Investigations Police operated in support of Carabineros and intelligence services of armed forces. For example, Investigations Police operated an antinarcotics force. In addition to law enforcement and traffic management, Carabineros engaged in narcotics suppression, border control, and counterterrorism. Italy and Spain pledged to help Aylwin government finance and train civilian-based security force capable of combatting terrorist threat.

Insurgents: Three main terrorist groups still sporadically active in 1993: pro-Cuban Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria), United Popular Action Movement-Lautaro (Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitario-Lautaro), Lautaro Youth Movement (Movimiento Juvenil Lautaro), Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (Frente Patriótica Manuel Rodríguez), and Maoist-oriented Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front-Autonomous (Frente Patriótica Manuel RodríguezAutónomo ). None a serious threat to national security, but each capable of occasional acts of terrorism.

Data as of March 1994