Local media reports have stated that Bolivia’s new SIDACTA air traffic control and air defence command and control system could enter service by the end of 2019.
In August 2016 Thales was contracted by the Bolivian government to provide 13 ground-based air surveillance radars, and accompanying command and control software and hardware, at a value of $131 million. The system has been procured to not only help safeguard Bolivian air sovereignty, but to help protect the country’s skies against narcotics trafficking. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book, Bolivia remains the third largest global cultivator of coca and the third largest producer of cocaine.
Details regarding the exact composition of the radar orders are difficult to find, although the author’s records indict that, by March 2019, the Fuerza Aérea Boliviana will have two Thales TRAC-NG L-band (1.250 gigahertz/GHz to 1.350GHz) en route air traffic control radars, six Thales RSM-970 S-band (2.3GHz to 2.5GHz/2.7GHz to 3.7GHz) L-band secondary surveillance radars and a single Thales STAR-NG S-band primary surveillance radar. These systems will be located at airports around the country. A separate contract appeared to have been concluded with Thales in 2016 for the supply of four of the firm’s Ground Master-200 S-band ground-based air surveillance radars for $215 million which are expected to complete delivery this year, and will be networked into the overall SIDACTA architecture. While there are no details on where these radars will be located, it is thought that they will be based at strategically important locations around the country.