In order to increase Mexico´s air-traffic surveillance capabilities, the Air Force is about to spend 250 million USD for a number of state-of-the-art radars.
According to the Mexican Air Force, the ground-based radars already in use are “obsolete” since they have been in continuous operation for more than 16 years without replacement.
The new radars –also ground based- will be operated by the Integrated Air-Surveillance System (SIVA in Spanish), Mexico’s most advanced radar surveillance platform.
Although SIVA’s backbone is comprised of ground-based radar facilities, it also operates airborne platforms such as the Embraer 145 AEW&C and the Embraer 145 RS/AGS. The Fairchild C-26 Metro is also a key element of the system.
In MXSECUITY we believe that SIVA’s new radars should increase air-to-air drug traffic interdiction operations. However it also raises a key question: is the Air Force’s air-interdiction fleet ready for the challenge? We believe not.
There is an urgent need to replace the ageing fleet of Northrop F-5 Tiger II and Pilatus PC-7.
SIVA’s success depends on it.
The Mexican Navy operates its own radar-surveillance platform based in the Gulf of Mexico. The Thales Raytheon AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel radars provide air surveillance coverage over Mexico’s main oil production facilities in that region of the country.