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ENAER Empresa Nacional de Aeronáutica

Located in Santiago, Chile, Empresa Nacional de Aeronáutica counts on specialized professionals, technicians, and administrative support personnel at its secure and modern facilities, where maintenance, retrofitting, and repair services are provided for aircraft, engines, and accessories, as well as part manufacturing. Empresa Nacional de Aeronáutica has become a main factor in the Chilean technological development, and in turn, it is considered a pioneer company in the international quality assurance services in the production processes, free from contamination, and under the stringent industrial safety standards. Enaer is committed to a sustained, climbing flight, with new capabilities, new cooperation agreements, new investments, and with the confidence of its new customers, who have found in Enaer an Integral, Reliable Solution, and Excellent Service, within their reach.

In 1930, the Maintenance Wing of the Chilean Air Force is created; 54 years later, on March 16, 1984, Enaer, Empresa Nacional de Aeronáutica de Chile, started operating. In the past, several types of light aircraft were developed in Chile by the FACh-controlled National Aircraft Factory (Fábrica Nacional de Aeronaves--FNA), although none of these entered production. Starting in 1981, however, the FACh's Engineering and Maintenance Wing commenced the development of a variant of the Piper 236 Dakota light aircraft as a replacement for the Beech T34.

The result was the T-35 Pillán two-seater primary trainer. Enaer, the National Aeronautical Enterprise, was set up in 1984 in Santiago as a state enterprise with autonomous management to handle this project. Enaer was established to encourage the capability of repairing aircraft, engines, and components on a local basis, counteract the restrictions to access the foreign markets then existing, and develop the means to absorb the heavy burden derived from the complexity and specialization of the depot maintenance resulting from the technological advances.

Although Enaer's main contracts have been with the FACh, by late 1991 it had sold forty Pillán training aircraft to the Spanish Air Force, fifteen to the Paraguayan Air Force, ten to the Panamanian National Air Service, and sixty to the FACh. (Those for the Spanish Air Force were built under license in Spain under the name Tamiz.) The FACh proposed ultimately to build up to 200 Pilláns, mainly in the turboprop version unveiled in 1986 and originally designated the Aucan.

In a joint venture with Spain, Enaer developed a version of the Spanish CASA 101 Aviojet fighter, called the T-36 Halcón (Falcon), to replace the Cessna T-37 in the advanced trainer/light-strike role. Fifty-six of these aircraft were in service with the FACh. A radar-equipped maritime strike version, designated the A-36M and armed with the British Aerospace Sea Eagle air-to-surface missile, was also developed; it was flown in prototype form in 1992. In 1993 Enaer and the Brazilian Aeronautics Company (Embraer) signed an agreement, as partners, to share the risks of the EMB-145 program, which will produce a minimum of 400 of these jets.

Employing about 2,000 people in the 199os, Enaer had the capability to produce one aircraft per week, although the plant was not working to full capacity in early 1992. The engines for the Pillán and the Halcón are imported from the United States and Spain, respectively. The airframes and most other parts, including such sophisticated items as ejection seats, are produced in Chile. Enaer also manufactures parts for the CASA 235 and the BAe 146.

Enaer's Electronics Division developed and produced the Caiquen I and II early warning radars, which are in full production. Enaer has also developed the Itata airborne electronic intelligence-gathering system, the Medusa radio interception and jamming system, and the Eclipse chaff/infrared decoy launcher.

ENAER performs depot maintenance work on aircraft, engines and components and is a recognised Authorized Lockheed Martin Hercules Service Center with certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aeronautic Authorities from Argentine Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Uruguay, among others. The company has experience performing airframe and avionics upgrades such as F-5E Tiger III, A-36 and Boeing 707 tanker conversions.

In 2000 Enaer took the wraps off a proposed Cessna A-37 Dragonfly avionics upgrade, while US-based partner Snow Aviation hoped to begin work on re-engining a T-37 demonstrator in August with a new Williams FJ33 powerplant. The Chilean manufacturer produced a cockpit mock-up of a proposed A-37 upgrade based around a Honeywell avionics suite. Significant numbers of A/T-37s remain in service but are becoming increasingly difficult to support as the engine and systems are no longer in production.

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