Chile Military - 2023


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Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Chile (Fuerzas Armadas de Chile): Chilean Army (Ejército de Chile), Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile, includes marine units and coast guard or Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine Directorate (Directemar)), Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Chile, FACh) (2023)

note: the National Police Force (Carabineros de Chile) are responsible to both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security

Military expenditures

1.6% of GDP (2022 est.)

2% of GDP (2021 est.)

2% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.9% of GDP (2019 est.)

1.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 70,000 active armed forces personnel (40,000 Army; 20,000 Navy; 10,000 Air Force); approximately 50,000 Carabineros (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Chilean military inventory is comprised of a wide mix of mostly Western equipment and some domestically produced systems; in recent years, it has received military hardware from a variety of countries, including Australia, the UK, and the US; Chile's defense industry has capabilities in military aircraft, ships, and vehicles (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; selective compulsory service (there are usually enough volunteers to make compulsory service unnecessary); service obligation is a minimum of 12 months for Army and 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2023)

note: as of 2021, women comprised approximately 18% of the armed forces

Military - note

the Chilean military is a professional volunteer force that is regarded as one of the top militaries in the region; it is responsible for territorial defense and ensuring the country’s sovereignty; the military also assists with disaster and humanitarian relief and some internal security duties such as border security or maintaining public order if required; a key focus in recent years has been securing the border area with Bolivia and Peru; it trains regularly and participates in bilateral and multinational training exercises, as well as international peacekeeping operations 

the Chilean Army was founded in 1810, but traces its origins back to the Army of the Kingdom of Chile, which was established by the Spanish Crown in the early 1600s; the current Army has 6 divisions, an aviation brigade, and a special operations command; the divisions are comprised of a mix of armored, light infantry, mechanized infantry, motorized infantry, and mountain infantry brigades, regiments, and detachments; Chile's military aviation was inaugurated in 1913 with the creation of a military aviation school; the modern Air Force has about 200 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, including about 50 US-made fighters

the Navy traces its origins to 1817; it was first led by a British officer and its first ships were largely crewed by American, British, and Irish sailors; by the 1880s, the Chilean Navy was one of the most powerful in the Americas, and included the world’s first protected cruiser (a ship with an armored deck to protect vital machine spaces); today, its principle warships are 8 frigates, 4 offshore patrol ships, a landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious assault ship, 4 attack submarines, and a few missile attack craft, supported by dozens of coastal patrol boats; the Navy also has marine amphibious infantry brigade and an aviation force with maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft

Chile and Argentina have a joint peacekeeping force known as the Combined Southern Cross Peacekeeping Force (FPC), designed to be made available to the UN; the FPC is made up of two battalions, one from each country, a command and service company, an air component (a squadron of Argentine and Chilean helicopters), a naval component, and a combined logistics support unit (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Chile on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Chile 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Chile 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.