A Chilean Air Force aircraft had been missing since the 10th December 2019.

The aircraft had 17 crew and 21 passengers on board.

According to the Royal Air Force:

“An A400M was requested to provide assistance by the Chilean military and landed in Chile yesterday to support the official search and rescue mission. A Liaison Team of military and civilian personnel also deployed on the A400M to assist in the search. The RAF aircraft will conduct its first specialist reconnaissance flight today with trained personnel searching for signs of the missing aircraft, with the liaison team acting in support.”

The aircraft crash site was located on the 12th of December 2019, with no survivors.

The RAF also say that Met Office staff based in the Falkland Islands are providing forecast information to the Chilean Military.

The A400M is stationed at the British Forces South Atlantic Island base, the UK’s permanent presence on the overseas territory of the Falkland Islands.

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Levi Goldsteinberg

Good show and quite right too. Chileans have had our boy’s backs in a pinch before

Daniele Mandelli

Have always been fascinated by the stories of what went on behind the scenes with the Chileans during Corporate.

Nimrods flying out of Punta Arenas, and PR9’s.

And of course the abandoned Sea King on the Chilean beach. SAS mission or crafty diversion?


Whilst I think most of the article is true(ish) I wouldn’t totally trust a Duncan Campbell article as he did have a particular (Very left of centre) lense.


Wouldn’t it be great if, at sometime in the future, the UK had spare Poseiden capability, to help out our friends; such as on this occasion. More soft power projection!


Yes, despite the fact that it was organised under a fascist dictatorship! Nice to have friends…even if they are scumbags. But I suppose, if they are nice to you, you can avoid any moral problems …..and respect them 🙂


Good to hear, does the A400 have any kit fitted other than the mark 1 eyeball to help in this search?

Sceptical Richard

No it doesn’t. Only a special SAR flight mode in its FMS. It takes it on a pre-programmed flight path centred round the last known position of the downed aircraft taking into account wind and currents, etc

Peter Crisp

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic here but I’d hope we’d use our resources to help in a search and rescue operation whenever anyone is in trouble.
Did I imagine it or did the UK help in the rescue effort for a Russian sub at one point?

Anyway, well done to all involved.

Daniele Mandelli

The UK offered the NSRS. And was rebuffed I think.


Did a quick search, and it looks like a UK team did save the crew of a Russian mini sub back in 2005:


That’s presumably before Putin decided to restart the cold war rhetoric.


What a topsy-turvy world we live. Billions spent on trying to kill the opposition more effectively and then rushing to their aid when they are in crisis. Which, of course, is only right and decent. Kind of makes you wonder what the real problem is…..:)

Peter Crisp

I think just the thought of people trapped in a sub needing rescue is enough to make not helping seem extremely heartless. We had some very specialised equipment and I think it’s only right and proper that we offer it to help people in what can only be described as a horrific situation.
We may have been in a cold war but nobody wants to say they did nothing to help when they could and it has the side affect of showing them we aren’t heartless bastards.

Steve Martin

Crazy isn’t it!?


The Russians would rather let everyone die when Kursk had problems than get help from a nato nation like the uk in the beginning!, we had the british submarine rescue guys standing by waiting for a yes straight away, but when the Russians finally said yes days later everyone was dead, I think it was the Russian submarine Kursk, and the british crew opend the submarines hatch flooding the remaining unflooded sections! I still don’t know why they did that but they did there’s footage of it.

Sceptical Richard

Well done the boys and girls from 70 squadron and all the teams back at the Falklands and Brize Norton. I and my organisation brought this baby into RAF service and it makes me very proud to see it taking its first operational steps round the world. Great aeroplane with a great future.


How are reconnaissance missions like this carried out. Is it Mk1 eyeball from the cockpit, or do they lower the rear ramp as the fuselage windows look inadequate….no bubble window?

Sceptical Richard

No longer plugged into the system I’m retired now. But I know A400M has taken part in in humanitarian missions after Caribbean hurricane and also in Indonesia. Took 22tonnes into short devastated airport where Hercules could only manage 8 tonnes. No, no special search equipment other than special SAR mode built into Flight Management System. Yes, they would have ramp open during searches with loadie acting as third pair of eyes. Might also have third pilot in cockpit. Special SAR loads consisting of life rafts with rations and locator beacons have also been cleared to roll off the ramp.


Great, the sort of 1st hand info that UKDJ is good at. As you are an A400 man, what sort of developments can you see, or want, for future RAF development of this platform?

Sceptical Richard

The aircraft already comes pretty well equipped and specified. For the future? Two things. First one day it’ll have to replace the C-130J as the SF platform. Already has most of the kind of kit SF need in such an aircraft. It’s mostly a question of clearing equipment the SF boys will want to bring on board and doing the trials for the sort of tactical operations they engage in. Additional fit? Maybe broadband satcom datalink coupled to an internal bus/wi-fi facility for last minute intelligence briefs before deployment? Another might be a towed radar decoy/jammer? Finally, one day the… Read more »


Thanks for that Richard. I would have thought that the helicopter refuelling option was something that the RAF/RN would dearly love…especially for SF missions.