Chile displays Leopard 1V, M113A1/A2 and Piranha 6x6 in bicentennial event

As reported by InfoDefensa on October 8, 2023, the Chilean Armed Forces marked a significant milestone as they celebrated the bicentennial anniversary of their 5th Lancers Armored Detachment. This event took place in Puerto Natales, Chile, on Friday, September 29, commemorating two centuries of the unit's service to the Chilean Army. Alongside this celebration, the ceremony provided an opportunity to showcase some of Chile's armored vehicles, including the Leopard 1V Main Battle Tank (MBT), M113A1/A2 armored personnel carriers (APCs), and Mowag Famae Piranha 6x6 APCs.
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Chilean Leopard 1V tank during the bicentennial event (Picture source: Municipalidad de Puerto Natales)

The bicentennial celebration held in Puerto Natales, Chile, paid tribute to the military heritage of the 5th Lancers Armored Detachment and allowed military officials, local authorities, and the community to observe the Chilean Armed Forces' military capabilities.

At the center of the display was the Leopard 1V Main Battle Tank, one of the two Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) in service with the Chilean Army. The Leopard 1V, an upgraded Dutch version of the Leopard 1A5 tank, featured enhancements such as the EMES 12A3 AFSL-2 fire control system and spaced turret armor add-on package. While phased out of Dutch service by early 1995, the Leopard 1V remains active in Chile with units like the Armored Group No. 6 Dragons of the 4th Armored Brigade Chorrillos and the Armored Detachment No. 5 Lancers. Chile possesses 30 Leopard 1V tanks, complemented by 140 Leopard 2A4 MBTs recently upgraded by the Turkish company Aselsan.

Accompanying the Leopard 1V, the M113A1/A2 armored personnel carriers demonstrated their adaptability, as two units were showcased, each armed with a 40mm MK 19 grenade launcher. The first vehicle was displayed in an APC configuration, while the second was a 120mm mortar carrier variant. Chile maintains a fleet of 306 M113A1/A2 vehicles in its inventory, despite the introduction of newer APCs as the M113 A1/A2 remains a dependable and versatile vehicle suitable for various military support functions.

The Mowag Famae Piranha 6x6 armored personnel carriers added to the event's spectacle, showcasing their mobility and versatility. These vehicles have become important assets for the Chilean Army, providing support in a range of operational scenarios. The MOWAG Piranha 1 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) is a Swiss-manufactured wheeled armored vehicle that can accommodate up to 12 soldiers and offers protection against small arms fire, artillery shell splinters, and CBRN threats. Its modular design enables easy customization to fulfill specific roles, including infantry transport, command and control, ambulance, and reconnaissance. As a result, the MOWAG Piranha 1 APC has found utility in the arsenals of numerous armed forces worldwide. For example, Chile operates 139 Piranha 1 6x6 and 18 Piranha 1 8x8 vehicles, manufactured under license by FAMAE.