Argentine Air Force and Army clash for surveillance radar choice and responsibilities for new roles

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The argentine armed forces have been taking new roles in surveillance for incursions on the Argentine northborder, both Fernandez de Kirchner and Macri administrations identified thiscritical requirement as a needed repurposing of an outdated and ineffective defense system. This being the leitmotiv of Frontera Norte and Integracion Frontera Norte operations, on military support of security forces on border surveillance with drug trafficking and smuggling in mind, from international crime organizations.

For this purpose, many requirements for equipment have been submitted and some of them even fielded already. While being seen as an opportunity to a long delayed re-equipment of the armed forces with new and capable hardware, some turn to rejection of these new duties and the loss of military power itself turned to securitization.

New radars for ground based short range surveillance have been required and determined by the Argentine Army from 2015 onward. For this purpose, Thales Ground Observer 80 has been selected in order to operate hand to hand with locally upgraded RASIT radars, an early version from 40 years ago of these newly built Thales radars. Thales was also the supplier for ground surveillance radars for the Argentine Coast Guard.

Considering radar surveillance as their own and taking advantage of this opportunity, the Argentine Air Force signed an agreement with Turkish aerospace ASELSAN for ACAR ground surveillance radar also with an intention to replace aged and outdated Elta 2106 radars,bought in late 1970s facing a near war scenario with Chile. This has turned to both a political conflict within the Defense Ministry and with diplomatic consequences with France and Turkey. It is not news that Argentina┬┤s economy is struggling and these contracts depend much on state to state funding, so political finesse is at hand if one or another should be benefitted.

Argentina has an indigenous capability to provide such radars but it has not being developed specifically as of today, INVAP, a long standing state owned company is providing fixed position medium range 3D radars in order to complete the intended full radar coverage of the country as required by the Defense Ministry.

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