Chile Military

Chile is a South American country located along the western coast of the continent. With a population of over 18 million people, it is the 60th most populous country in Latin America. The Republic of Chile is a presidential republic and its military consists of three branches: the Chilean Army, Chilean Navy, and Chilean Air Force. The Chilean Army is responsible for defending the country’s borders and sovereignty, as well as providing security to its citizens. In terms of defense spending, Chile spends approximately $4.2 billion annually on its military, making it one of the highest defense spending nations per capita in Latin America. The country also participates in several regional peacekeeping missions such as those in Haiti and Colombia. Chile is also a member of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and has close ties with other UNASUR members such as Argentina and Peru. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Chile.


The defense has reduced its volume over a ten-year period, modernized and placed under civilian political control. Defense costs decreased from 7.8 to 2% of GDP in 1985-2006. Approximately the same amount is financed in other ways than over the defense budget, mainly for investments in new equipment. So far, staffing has been done through military service, but from 2006 there is a transition to voluntary recruitment.

The defense comprises about 78,000 men and is organized into an army of 47,000 men with six divisions and two independent regiments/brigades. The navy comprises about 20,000 men with 4 submarines, 6 larger surface combat vessels, 25 patrol boats, 5 amphibious vessels and a navy corps of 3,500 men and a naval aircraft with 6 fighter aircraft and 17 armed helicopters. The Air Force comprises 11,000 men with 87 fighter aircraft and 14 armed helicopters. Half-military security forces amount to 38,000 men. The material is of Western origin and is being modernized at a rapid pace; 10 new and 18 used F-16 fighter planes, 2 used submarines and 2 used frigates, as well as far-reaching discussions to change all or a large part of the tank fleet to Leopard II are examples of support from e.g. The Netherlands and Spain.

Chile participates in UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR), Haiti (MINUSTAH), India/ Pakistan, the Middle East, Montenegro and Serbia. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that CHL stands for Chile.

Chile Army

Chile has military service with first-time service of 12 months in the Army and in the Air Force, and 18 months in the Navy. The total strength of Chile’s armed forces is 77,200 active personnel, with a reserve of 40,000 personnel (2018, IISS). In addition there are 44 700 semi-military Carabineros. The Coast Guard belongs under the Navy.

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The army has a staff of 46 350 active personnel. Materials include 244 tanks (115 Leopard 1 and 131 Leopard 2), 191 storm tanks, 548 armored personnel vehicles, and 65 self-propelled artillery, including 17 self-propelled artillery. In addition, the Army has heavy artillery, short range air defense missiles, light air defense artillery, eight light transport aircraft and 26 helicopters.

Air Force

The Air Force has a personnel force of 11,050 active personnel. Materials include 48 fighter jets (12 F-5 Tigers III, and 36 F-16), 10 F-16 fighter aircraft, 16 A-36 Halcón attack aircraft, three reconnaissance aircraft, one AEW & C aircraft, five tankers, 37 transport aircraft, 46 training aircraft (including 14 Super Tucano which can also be used as light attack aircraft), 40 helicopters, and three medium- heavy drones.

The Navy

The Navy has a workforce of 19,800 active personnel, including 3,600 Marines. The fleet includes four tactical submarines, one fighter, seven frigates, 12 patrol vessels, one dock landing vessel, six landings, and 13 logistics and auxiliary vessels.

The Navy’s aircraft have four anti-submarine aircraft, four maritime patrol aircraft, seven reconnaissance aircraft, seven training aircraft, and 20 helicopters.

In addition, the naval forces of material have 15 light Scorpion light tanks, 25 armored personnel vehicles, heavy artillery, sea-going missiles, and short-range air defense missiles.

The Coast Guard has 55 patrol vessels.


The semi-military Carabineros belong to the Ministry of the Interior, and have a staff of 44 700 active personnel. Materials include 20 armored personnel vehicles, four light transport aircraft, and 16 light helicopters.

International operations

In 2018, Chile participated, among others, in the UN operations in Cyprus (UNFICYP) with 12 personnel, and in the Middle East (UNTSO) with three observers.