The Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) is strengthening surveillance and monitoring capabilities to control trafficking along the Brazilian border with Paraguay and Bolivia with the installation of new radar stations in the cities of Corumbá, Porto Murtinho, and Ponta Porã, in Mato Grosso do Sul state.
Launched on August 18, 2020, the Corumbá Radar Station was the first to become operational. The new equipment expands capabilities to identify the presence of unauthorized aircraft flying at low altitudes with illegal cargo in Brazilian territory.
According to a press release from FAB’s Public Affairs Office, the equipment provides air surveillance capabilities in a 450-kilometer radius, or about 635,000 square kilometers. “The functioning radars enable identification of all types of aircraft that circulate in the covered area. This way, the operational decisions related to control or air defense can be made very effectively,” the statement indicated.
According to FAB General Heraldo Luiz Rodrigues, general director of the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA, in Portuguese), the new station considerably strengthens airspace control in the region. “With the installation of radars in Corumbá, DECEA will be able to identify any aircraft flying over Brazilian territory in this region coming from Bolivia or Paraguay and, if deemed illegal, they will be intercepted and suffer legal consequences per airspace regulations,” he said.
According to the FAB, since early 2020, more than 3.5 tons of cocaine have been seized on clandestine flights from Bolivia to Brazil, through operations conducted by fighter jets.
With support from the E-99 radar airplane, the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft conduct the majority of clandestine flight interceptions along the border.
The installation of the Porto Murtinho radar station is close to completion, according to news site Porto Murtinho Notícias. The new radar station will monitor aircraft flying at low altitudes over the border region and will strengthen the ability to identify unauthorized flights, which is essential in combat operations against drug trafficking. The FAB estimates that the Porto Murtinho and Ponta Porã stations will be operational in the first half of 2021.