Argentina, Bolivia considering sale of radar technology

Argentina has offered to transfer its own technology for civilian and military radars to Bolivia, stressing that it can help the country gain independence from costly products sold by developed nations.

Reymi Ferreira, Bolivia´s defense minister, and his Argentina counterpart, Agustin Rossi, signed a letter of intent over the weekend, to study the installation of radar using Argentine technology in Bolivian territory.

"We have signed a letter of intention with the Argentine defense ministry and we give each other three months time” to evaluate the viability of the projects," Ferreira said, according to information available Monday on the Bolivian defense ministry's website.

"We will get to work on the design of a radar system for all of Bolivia,¨ he added. The defense ministry said there was a second accord for the potential purchase by Bolivia of Argentina-made Pampa III jet fighters. A third accord involves the possible sale of missiles.

Separately, the Argentine government press agency Telam quoted Santiago Rodriguez, Argentina's secretary of Science, Technology and Defense Production,  saying that Argentina-made radars, compared with those manufactured in the U.S. or Europe, not only have lower maintenance costs, but their purchase by Bolivia will also involve a transfer of technology.

“We open the technology, unlike companies like the North American Westinghouse, or the European's Alenia, Indra or Thales," Rodriguez said. "We propose to share the information about the complete functioning of the system so that Bolivia can personalize it in the way it finds most secure and efficient; and above all, to know there is nothing hidden inside the equipment."

Rodriquez reportedly said that Argentina was proposing the integration of the value chain in the Bolivian industry through mechanical and electronic companies, which would allow Bolivia to have replacement parts for the technology available in the country.

“Another big point in favor of the Argentine radars is the trust in the supplier,"  Rodriquez was quoted as saying. "A radar designed today can become obsolete in 10 years. International companies push their clients to costly modernizations or to buy new equipment.

Argentina has been developing radar systems only for about 12 years, Rodriguez told the Argentine press.

“In 2003, Argentina faced a critical situation," Rodriguez told Tiempo Argentino. "There were only four secondary radars and only 10 percent of the air space was covered by radars. After investing $1 billion, we have now 22 secondary radars and four primary radars developed by the INVAP (an Argentine state company for technology projects), and nearly all the air space is monitored."