Israel's Elbit Systems will modernize Chile's Leopard 2A4 tanks and Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles. The Infodefensa website reported that Elbit was selected to modernize the fire control system of the Leopard 2A4, while OIP Land Systems, a subsidiary of Elbit, was chosen to upgrade the observation and aiming system of the Marder 1A3.
The project was initiated by the Army's Projects and Research Directorate in 2018 to update the capabilities of Leopard 2A4 and Marder 1A3 components that presented problems due to technological and logistical obsolescence. In 2020, Chilean state-owned firearms manufacturer FAMAE was commissioned to execute the program since it is the entity responsible for integrating weapons systems in the institution, ensuring efficient operation and sustainability throughout their lifecycle through the comprehensive maintenance services that it provides to the armored fleet of the Chilean Army, the report said.
The program also includes the modernization of the fire control system of M109 self-propelled howitzers that will incorporate the Nekulpan system developed by FAMAE and Desarrollos de Automatización (Desa) as well as internal communications that will be provided for the three models of vehicles by Turkey's Aselsan, according to Infodefensa.
The integration of the solutions from Elbit Systems and OIP Land Systems involve a technological challenge since they were not the companies that installed the systems when the vehicles were acquired secondhand from Germany in the first decade of the 2000s. The manufacturer of the Marder 1A3, Rheinmetall, will integrate the Saphir 2.6 MK thermal camera into the vehicles in service in Germany between 2022 and 2023. Thus, OIP Land Systems must develop the basic engineering of the observation and aiming system before making the modifications that will allow the installation of the systems, the report said.
Regarding the Leopard 2A4, Elbit Systems has experience in modernizing such systems. The company integrated the Coaps dual-axis modular stabilized sight as part of the modernization of the Singapore Army's Leopard tanks to the 2SG standard.