Chile has recently selected Lockheed Martin to provide up to 12 F-16 fighter jets to the Chilean Air Force. Chile also wants to purchase advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs) as part of the package, as well as other sophisticated accessories that appear unreasonable given the level of threat in the Southern Cone and the high price tag associated with these items. Along with the beyond-visual-range of the AMRAAMs, Chile is also demanding a LANTIRN navigation system and a mid-air refueling capability that would give the F-16s a power projection capability not required for strictly defensive use. Furthermore, Chile is demanding the software source codes for the targeting system, something the U.S. government has traditionally refused to transfer for fear of misuse or diversion. The Clinton administration also pledged not to transfer the AMRAAMs, or to sell them but keep them on US territory until another state imports similar technology first, in an effort to uphold a commitment not to introduce new technology into a region. It is unclear whether the Bush administration will stick to that policy.


Providing Chile with all the equipment being requested could also trigger alarm bells in neighboring states. Bolivia, which is in dispute with Chile over water rights, has already expressed its opposition to the sale, saying the deal might lead Bolivia to increase its own military spending.


Finally, Chile is planning on spending $600 million on the purchase, an extraordinary sum for a state recovering from its worst recession in 20 years. Although Chile's socialist government has been convinced to support the sale, this may stem primarily from a need to appease the military after the Chilean Supreme Court stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution.



Action Request:


The impact of advanced weaponry on regional stability should be one of President Bush’s top priorities in Latin America.  As the Third Summit of the Americas approaches in April, we urge President Bush to consult with the United States’ Latin American allies to establish a multi-lateral agreement, specifying the number of weapons and types of technologies necessary to address modernization needs and defense of this region.  This alternative would allow the countries in this region to maintain military parity and slow the pace of defense modernization, dedicating more resources to improve their economies and democracies.


On April 20-22 President Bush and over thirty other democratically elected heads of State from the Americas will gather in Quebec City, Canada for the Third Summit of the Americas.  Please write to Bush and urge him to work with the United States’ allies in Latin America toward greater regional stability through a cooperative multilateral agreement with limits on numerical and technological military modernization.


The Letter:


April XX, 2001


The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

I write to urge you to consult with the United States allies in Latin

America at the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada, April

20-22, on the proliferation of advanced weaponry to the region.  I am

concerned that the pending sale of  F-16 fighter jets with advanced power

projection technologies to the Government of Chile will destabilize the

region and threaten the development of the region’s economies and

democracies.  I urge you to consult with allies at the Summit to work toward

greater regional stability through a cooperative multilateral agreement with

limits on numerical and technological military modernization.


The F-16s sale, from jet maker Lockheed-Martin, includes Advanced Medium

Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), the LITENING II deep strike navigation

and targeting system, and fuel tanks that would extend the range of the

aircraft.  Because Chile is in a peaceful and democratic area, these weapons

are needless for its defensive purposes.  Chile’s acquisition of these types

of defense systems would only increase the odds of a regional arms race.


These concerns have already been made to you by Senator Christopher Dodd

(D-CT) and nine of his colleagues.  Additionally, over twenty

non-governmental organizations, including arms control, human rights, and

Latin American interest groups, wrote to you in late March with similar



At the Summit I urge you to work with the other Latin American heads of

State toward a cooperative security framework in Latin America that makes a

priority of the issues and challenges identified for the Summit - improved

access to education, poverty alleviation, strengthening human rights and

democracy and economic integration.  Through such an agreement the United

States can help reduce the pace of defense modernization and strengthen  the

existing economies and democracies of the region.  Thank you for your

attention to this matter.



Other Actions:


Please take any one of the following steps to ensure the U.S. makes a careful assessment before deciding whether to approve this sale of F-16s, especially the high tech accessories being demanded by Santiago.

·         Call your Representative in the House - especially if on the House International Relations Committee - and let him/her know you oppose the sale as it is currently being proposed by Chile.

·         Call your Senator and ask him/her to sign on to the letter being circulated by Senator Dodd's office (the contact is Janice O'Connell at 224-3953). The letter is below.

·         The following members have already signed on to this letter: (Dodd, Christopher (D-CT),

·         Sarbanes, Paul (D-MD), Biden, Joseph (D-DE), Feingold, Russ (D-WI), Harkin, Tom (D-IA)

·         Leahy, Pat (D-VT), Kerry, John (D-MA). If you live in their state, please call them to thank them for taking a cautious stand on this sale.


The Letter:


April XX, 2001


The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:


We are writing to raise concerns about the proposed $600 million sale of

F-16 fighter jets to the Government of Chile. While we do not oppose

providing our ally with safe, reliable aircraft for its defense, we believe

the level of technology being discussed in this instance is unnecessary and

potentially de-stabilizing.


As you know, the Government of Chile announced in December its intention to

purchase up to a dozen F-16C/D aircraft from Lockheed Martin. It is our

understanding that, as part of the deal, Chilean authorities will request

certain highly advanced military technology including medium range

air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM), the LANTIRN navigation system and conformal

fuel tanks. Such advanced technology would provide a power projection

capability that is not required for defensive purposes. Furthermore,

Chile's desire for software source codes for the targeting system raise

serious questions about transfers of highly specialized U.S. technologies

and our ability to keep them from falling into the wrong hands.


Permitting the sale of these advanced technologies is unwarranted for the

following reasons:


- No military threat - The region is at peace and most border disputes

have been resolved;

- Regional stability - No other military in the region has the capability

the proposed sale would provide and introducing these technologies may

unnecessarily alarm neighboring nations;

- Cost - Chile will need to spend 90% of its acquisition budget for the

next 10 years to cover the projected $600 million price tag, thereby

delaying other needed modernization;

- Technology proliferation - The U.S. needs to safeguard its most

sensitive technologies to ensure our national security.


Therefore, we strongly urge you to sell dependable, used F-16s to Chile

while barring the transfer of power projection technologies such as beyond

visual range missiles, LANTIRN navigation and targeting systems, conformal

fuel tanks and mid-air refueling capability. By pursuing this pragmatic

approach the U.S. can still provide a close ally with modern equipment at a

reasonable price while maintaining regional stability and limiting the

dangerous dissemination of advanced military technology.


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