Chile plans to buy 12 AAV7 armored amphibious vehicles from U.S for its new sea-borne Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade, according to reports.
The vehicles are being acquired from excess inventory of U.S. stockpiles but will be upgraded before they are put into service, Chile officials were quoted as saying.
The upgrade is likely to be carried out by BAE Systems' Global Combat Systems unit, according to reports. Independent comments by officials on the acquisition and upgrade was not immediately available.
The first of the AAV7s is set to be delivered in 2014 after the upgrade, likely to involve installation of more powerful engines. Chile's purchase includes 10 AAVP7 A1 troop transports, one AAVC7 command vehicle and one AAVR7 recovery vehicle..
Manufactured by U.S. Combat Systems, the AAV-7A1 is the current amphibious troop transport of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The vehicles, once commissioned, will be part of a 1,400-strong brigade Chile operates aboard its Sargento Aldea multirole assault ship, acquired from France in a $80 million deal.
A standard AAV7 is usually equipped with a .50-caliber machine gun and a 40mm grenade launcher.
Chile is also looking into acquiring new helicopters, landing craft and other hardware for its armed forces.