The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S

Bell Sells a Chopper To Chile - for "Antarctic Rescue"

A U.S. arms manufacturer, Bell Helicopter Textron, recently sold a helicopter to the Chilean military.

Bell delivered in February "a Bell 212 helicopter to the Chilean air force, of all places," said Larry Bowles, Bell's international regional marketer for the southern half of South America. "That's the first military contract we have signed with Chile in years."

U.S. law prohibits military sales to Chile. Under the Arms Export Controls Act of 1976, "no military assistance and . . : no sales including cash sales may be made and no export license may be issued ... with respect to Chile."

In spite of this law, Bell's sale appears to be legal, since the specific helicopter is a civilian, not a military, item. "It does not have either passive armor or offensive capabilities," said Jim Brown, contract administrator for international business at Bell, adding that the chopper would be used only for "rescue missions in the Antarctic."

"Its sale would not be prohibited by law," concurs a State Department human rights officer, since sales of civilian goods, even to the Chilean military, are not covered by the Arms Export Control Act.

When asked what assurance Bell had that the air force wouldn't use the helicopter for military purposes, Bowles said, "there's no assurance. How could there be?"

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