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Chile, U.S. conclude joint air maneuvers
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12:30, October 20, 2007

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Chile and the United States on Friday concluded their first joint maneuvers with F-16 fighters and other planes in northern Chilean city Iquique.

The drills, Willka 2007, began on Monday with six U.S. F-16 planes and two KC-135s for air combat and mid-flight refueling exercises. The Chilean Air Force sent some F-16s and one F-5 to participate in the drills.

The objective of the maneuvers was to "acquire and share air power experiences with a common language and procedure standardization to operate," said a statement of the Chilean Air Force.

"We have to be ready always, and these exercises with the United States clearly help," said Chilean Defense Minister Jose Goni who came to Iquique and watched the exercises.

The joint military maneuvers were staged just two weeks after U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates toured the South American country, which Gates called "an important actor in the international scene."


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