Military of Chile

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Chile's armed forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the president through the Minister of Defense. Military service of 12 to 24 months is mandatory for all male citizens upon turning 18. This conscription service can be postponed for educational or religious reasons. In recent years and after several major reequipment programs, the Chilean Armed Forces have become one of the most technologically advanced and professional armed forces of South America.




The current commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army is General de Ejército Sr. Juan Miguel Fuente-Alba Poblete. The 45,000-person army is organized in seven divisions and one air brigade. The army operates German Leopard 1 and 2 tanks as its main battle tanks. The recent purchase of 140 second-hand Leopard 2A4s from the German army is now being delivered.


Admiral Rodolfo Codina Díaz directs the 25,000-person Chilean Navy, including 4,800 Marines. Of the fleet of 66 surface vessels, eight are major combatant ships and they are based in Valparaíso. The navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol; there are no fighters or bomber aircraft but they have attack helicopters. The Navy also operates four submarines based in Talcahuano.

Air Force

Gen. Ricardo Ortega Perrier heads 11,000 strong Chilean Air Force. Air assets are distributed among five air brigades headquartered in Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. The Air Force also operates an airbase on King George Island, Antarctica.

Wars | War of the Pacific

Notable officers | Senior officers
Rank insignia
Awards |

Full article ▸

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