After years of efforts, the existing radar detection equipment covers 32 percent of the national airspace, so Sedena intends to increase this capacity to cover the remaining 68 percent.
MEXICO, (December 06, 2021).- The Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) seeks to strengthen its Comprehensive Air Surveillance System, and therefore intends to develop a radar prototype (Radar Camazot 2022), which will strengthen the military operation against air traffic of drugs and weapons, which comes from Central and South America.
The military institution explained that after years of efforts, the existing radar detection equipment already covers 32 percent of the national airspace, so it is intended to increase this capacity to cover the remaining 68 percent and achieve total surveillance control. and protection of the air extension of Mexico against the incursion of clandestine flights (Narco-Flights).
According to a project sent to the Ministry of Finance, Sedena pointed out that the high costs for the acquisition and permanent operation of this type of radars make it difficult for the armed forces to have sufficient means to effectively carry out their missions.
For this reason, the agency requested the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) 16.5 billion pesos for the creation of the “Radar Camazot 2022”, which development and research will be in charge of the General Directorate of Military Industry.
“The Mexican Army and Air Force, in order to fulfill their general missions, have developed the Comprehensive Air Surveillance System, to assist in stopping the efforts of criminal organizations from entering the national territory by air, through the use of a set of fixed radar systems and others airborne on aerial platforms, which provide coverage of 32 percent of the national airspace.
“Given the extension of the national territory and its orography, the number of radar systems deployed by the Comprehensive Air Surveillance System is not enough to provide total and permanent coverage to the national airspace, since the acquisition and maintenance costs of the systems required are very high ”, explained the institution in the letter that is sent to the SHCP.
The Sedena explained that the objective of the project is that the armed forces can have a radar system of national design and construction, without the need to acquire it abroad, and in this way, achieve sovereignty in terms of aerial surveillance.
“There is total foreign dependence, in a strategic area for national security that is the surveillance of airspace, because all the radar systems deployed in the national territory are of foreign manufacture because in the country there is no industry dedicated to designing and building this type of technology ”, he highlighted in the document.
Gaps in airspace exploited by cartels: expert
When consulted on the subject, the national security specialist, Gerardo Rodríguez, assured the gaps that the Mexican State leaves in the airspace are well used by the cartels.
He warned that Mexico registers an escalation in the entry by air, of aircraft from South American countries, to traffic weapons, drugs, money, and people.
“Organized crime takes advantage of this vulnerability of lack of coverage, of Mexican radars, and they know where there is no coverage and that way they take advantage of the situation by using light aircraft, which come from Central America, which in turn come from Colombia and Venezuela, mainly.
“The Mexican State literally observes how these aircraft are entering, and there are blind spots where they get lost,” he said.
Gerardo Rodríguez agreed that the armed forces should stop depending on Europe or the United States for the acquisition of national security technologies.
To develop the radar prototype, Sedena appointed a team made up of 35 engineers and technicians, graduated from military establishments.
They will be supervised by personnel from the operational area of the Comprehensive Air Surveillance System, in order to define the technical requirements that the new radar must meet, based on the operational conditions imposed on the current tactical situation, as well as the terrain conditions. and environmental, which prevail in the national territory.
For this project, the military institution formalized training and advisory agreements with the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (Cinvestav, Guadalajara Campus), and the Autonomous University of Zacatecas (UAZ).
“With the aforementioned institutional collaboration, lines of research will be developed in the areas of computational sciences, digital signal and image processing, radiofrequency, solid-state power systems, transmission lines, antennas, and mechatronic systems, which enhance the materialization of the project “, specified the military institution.
Results of the Comprehensive Air Surveillance System
The Comprehensive Air Surveillance System (SIVA) was created 17 years ago by the Mexican Army and Air Force, in order to stop the efforts of criminal organizations to traffic drugs and weapons by air into the national territory.
It has about 90 elements, who carry out control, computing, communications, intelligence, and reconnaissance actions. Its objective is to detect suspicious aircraft, to make decisions in real-time, during security operations of the armed forces.
According to the latest report on operations against drug trafficking from the Ministry of National Defense, 59 aircraft were secured through this system, mainly from the southern border so far this six-year term (December 2018 to October 2021).
According to a report from the Sedena Transparency Committee, the SIVA has at its disposal the air surveillance squadron unit, with EMB-145, KING AIR 350 and PC-6 aircraft from 2004, the air squadron unit 601, made up of remotely piloted aircraft systems acquired in 2009 and detection and control unit 601, with TPS-78 radars from 1989.
Specialist Gerardo Rodríguez explained that, since Mexico only covers a third of the national territory, the Comprehensive Air Surveillance System has the ability to receive information from radars from the United States.
“The Secretary of National Defense, the Secretary of the Navy, have very good cooperation with the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), of course also with the satellites that the Drug Control Administration (DEA) has in place. ), this is about covering many of these spaces that the Mexican State does not have the surveillance capacity, especially with the Department of Defense, and with the DEA.
“It must be remembered that the United States has a very important coverage, with radars that they have put in practically the entire Caribbean, from Guantanamo, from Florida, from Key West, Puerto Rico, and on small islands in the Caribbean,” he stressed.
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