With the arrival of a drone with strategic capabilities and the delivery of eleven BMC Vuran armored vehicles to the Armed Forces of El Salvador (FAES), Phase III of the security program Territorial Control (CTE) begins to materialize within the framework of the arms systems contract between the government of Nayib Bukele and the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed in early 2022.
The package would include equipment for the police and apparently at least one air ambulance for the Ministry of Health, apparently a T625 helicopter, a model inspected by Bukele during his visit to its factory.
Phase III of the Territorial Control (CTE) taken over in 2018 required, among other things, $46.9 million to acquire ten 10-ton trucks, nine all-terrain mobility vehicles, a helicopter (specifying a B-412), and an ocean-going capabilities vessel.
In addition, the program included other funds for 113 drones with biometric data collection technology, 25 of them for the Army and the rest for the Police. Of these, $1.6 million would be earmarked for a surveillance, search and rescue device with naval and ground functions and $1 million for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), together with a Monitoring Center for the Army, in addition to 13 for the Police.
Agreements between Turkey and El Salvador
The agreements signed with Turkey came after the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) failed to disburse a $109 million loan to finance Phase III of the project, so that it resorted to its own funds and any financing and/or assistance offered by Turkey.
Unofficially, the arrival of a UAV, apparently an Anka-S, has been unofficially mentioned, and a surveillance, search and rescue device with naval and ground functions is still awaited. It could be a Turkish design to be used in an ocean-going patrol vessel such as the Alpin, based on the Italian Heli-Sport CH-7 ultralight helicopter.
Although the details of the agreements with Turkey have not been made public and the leadership of the Armed Forces of El Salvador indicates that there are no negotiations for an ocean patrol vessel, it would not be surprising if something is already in place at the executive level to acquire an Ares 53 OPV or similar YS5301 from Damen Shipyards, both located in Antalya, Turkey. The YS5301 is a commercial evolution of the FCS5009, lengthened from 50 meters to 53 meters, with capacity for a 15-ton crane, two naval interceptors and a light helicopter platform.
On the other hand, the evaporation of the $13 million BCEI for the ocean patrol boat and the failure of the U.S. to offer a second 85-Defiant coast guard cutter has left the Salvadoran naval leadership looking for alternative solutions, such as acquiring surplus Chilean vessels.
Mention has been made of the possibility of acquiring some 108-foot (33 m) General Service Boats from ASMAR. It is noted that the MTU engines that power them could present logistical problems in El Salvador unless they could be repowered with CAT C-32 models – but that would represent probably unnecessary additional expenses.
The possibility of taking over some 108 ft (33 m) General Service Boats from ASMAR has thus been mentioned. It is noted that the MTU engines that power them could present logistical problems in El Salvador unless they could be repowered with CAT C-32 models – but that would represent probably unnecessary additional expenditure.
It is reported that eight ex-Korean MD500Ds are expected to arrive in September. With these, the military MD helicopter fleet would have 18 operational models, plus a dead-line E that can even be rebuilt to standard 530F. If this is realized, the fleet would total 19 machines: five 530Fs, six 500Es, and eight 500Ds. Among other possibilities, a couple of them could be accommodated for naval operations, with necessary modifications to the rotors and structure to give them corrosion resistance and adequate instrumentation to make them less vulnerable to salt air and spray, and thus eventually be able to operate in support of an ocean patrol vessel.