Colombia develops air and land radar to fight the FARC and improve security

Colombia develops air and land radar to fight the FARC and improve security

By Dialogo
March 27, 2014



The Colombian Ministry of Defense is preparing to develop the country’s first radar systems. The radar systems will monitor air and land traffic, officials said.
The systems will be developed by the Corporation of Advanced Technology (CODALTEC). The company is owned by the Colombian Ministry of Defense.
The radar systems will improve public safety and help security forces in their ongoing battle against organized crime groups, authorities said.
A team of 20 Colombian military engineers and police officers comprise the Research Group for the Development of Sensors and Radars (GIDS). The GIDS is developing the radar systems.
When it is in place, the air radar will have a range of 45 kilometers, authorities said. The land radar will have a range of 12 kilometers.
Security forces will use the radar systems to detect suspicious aircraft and land vehicles. The radars will be deployed in sensitive areas – near oil pipelines, hydro-electricity stations and in battalions. They will also be used for civilian purposes, such as monitoring speed on roads and mining exploration.
“Progress in science, technology and innovation contributes to the development of all societies,” Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said. “The government is committed to finding better defense and security tools to ensure people’s safety across the country.”

Using technology to improve public safety

Colombian security forces are using a variety of technological tools to improve public safety.
For example, in May 2013, security officials publicly presented SIMART, a program which allows authorities to pilot aircraft remotely. SIMART allows security forces to remotely pilot military airplanes in remote jungle regions where the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Los Urabeños, Los Rastrojos, and other transnational criminal organizations operate.
The GIDS engineers are being trained in radar, equipment and systems development at the Politécnica University of Madrid (UPM). They are also working with two Spanish companies to learn radar production.
GIDS will present these two modern radar prototypes in 2015. GIDS engineers will continue to work on the radar systems in Madrid until returning to Colombia in 2016, authorities said. The radar devices are scheduled to be delivered to the Colombian Air Force (FAC) that year. The radar systems will be manufactured at the Apiay Military Base in Villavicencio in the Meta region.

The Pegaso light armored military vehicle

Technological innovation in defense and security is becoming a larger part of Colombian industry. In addition to the radar projects, COLDATEC is scheduled to present Markab, the country’s first military simulator manufactured in Colombia, in January of 2014. The Markab simulator allows security forces to operate the military vehicle ASV M1117, which is known as Pegaso. This is a “milestone” that shows how the Armed Forces are working to modernize, creating skills and coming together to protect citizens, Pinzón said.
The Markab is a training tool for Colombian Army crews who drive the light armored vehicle. It enables soldiers to simulate military operations and learn how to identify and avoid risks.
Markab was developed by a team of 24 engineers and 11 military officers. The simulator will improve crew training “without having to put the vehicle at risk,” said retired Gen. Julio González, the director of COLDATEC, according to published reports.
Colombia expects to receive 30 Pegaso armored vehicles in the coming months to add to the 39 purchased in 2008 and used by the Army since the start of 2011. The vehicles were purchased from the U.S. company Textro Marine & Land Systems. The vehicles have been used by military forces in Iraq and Bulgaria.
The all-terrain vehicle can transport up to 11 troop members shielded from weapons, artillery and mortar attacks. Military development is ripe for export. According to authorities, it can be adapted to other models with “small modifications” in technological development. A simulator can like the Markab could be sold for about $10 million (USD) on the international market.
The development of military technology, for use in Colombia or for the purposes of international trade, is a priority, defense officials have said.

Cyber-security

Colombian security forces are also working on cyber-security programs authorities said. Security forces are developing tools to guard the country’s sovereignty in the digital world and safeguard the rights of its citizens.
Colombian security forces must remain vigilant about improving the country’s technological capabilities, said Íñigo Guevara, a security analyst at the Collective for the Analysis of Security with Democracy (CASEDE) in Mexico City.
“The radar project result will enable (Colombia) to have tactical radars. They may not improve on other radars currently available on the international market but the important issue here is technology transfer for developing radars in Colombia,” Guevara said.
The Markab simulator will also help train military personnel who use Pegaso vehicles, according to the security analyst. Colombia has the potential to become a leader in certain niche technology markets for defense thanks to the experience gained in combatting the FARC and other organized crime groups, he added.
“The Colombian military industry is a successful example of how to take advantage of what is, in other terms, a misfortune – combat,” Guevara said.
Some of the most important defense and security projects developed by Colombia in the last three years include: exporting its LPR-40 river patrol boats, the SIMART simulator for unmanned aircraft and the BDA amphibious landing craft.
CODALTEC science and technology policies are the same as those at the Ministry of Defense, based on four principles: solving the requirements of security forces, developing technology that is applicable to more than one force, offering products for military and civilian use and being financially sustainable over time.
The work that the Military Forces have been doing for the technological development is very good, it was about time since such experienced Forces should offer their knowledge to the world, so that it can be replicated by the countries that need it. Such is the case of the Colombian Air Force who is developing cutting-edge technology for each one of their activities and has surprised us by being the first Air Force in the world to arm a black hawk helicopter, and they have also created different versions such as the Arpia IV; similarly, the technology and simulators for drones, the development of their own drone, the strategic laser-guided weaponry systems and a series of innovations, have provided them with a strategic advantage over enemies and criminals of the FARC and ELN. Colombia is a great nation that deserves all the recognition from the world and we are sure that they will achieve it. I hope they end with the FARC and ELN terrorists that have caused so much harm to the Colombians, such as the recruitment of children to go to war, extortion, kidnappings, targeted death of peasants and indigenous people, forced displacement, blowing up pipelines that harm the environment, bottom line, the crimes are numerous and justify putting an end to this group. We don't want the FARCs, we want a country at peace, we want respect and dignity for the victims. The work that the Military Forces have been doing for the technological development is very good,. It was about time these experienced Forces should offer their knowledge to the world so that it can be replicated by the countries that need it. Such is the case of the Colombian Air Force who is developing cutting-edge technology for each one of their activities and has surprised us by being the first Air Force in the world to arm a black hawk helicopter, and they have also created different versions, such as the Arpia IV; similarly, the technology and simulators for drones, the development of their own drone, the strategic laser-guided weaponry systems and a series of innovations, have provided them with a strategic advantage over enemies and criminals of the FARC and ELN. Colombia is a great nation that deserves all the recognition from the world and we are sure that they will achieve it. I hope they end with the FARC and ELN terrorists that have caused so much harm to the Colombians, such as the recruitment of children to go to war, extortion, kidnappings, targeted death of peasants and indigenous people, forced displacement, blowing up pipelines that harm the environment. The bottom line is the crimes are numerous and justify putting an end to this group. We don't want the FARCs, we want a country at peace, we want respect and dignity for the victims. We must keep cracking down on those guerrilla bandits that keep lying. I want to proudly point out the work of our armed forces, but the best radar that Colombia can implement is to end the administrative corruption in order to invest in human talent and infrastructure.
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