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Ecuadorian Air Force aims to install new radar to combat drug trafficking

The Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) plans to install a radar of “European” origin on Montecristi mountain to combat drug trafficking in the northern part of the country, according to Brigadier General Geovanny Espinel, commander of the service.

Gen Espinel noted in a 13 August press conference that Montecristi mountain is an “appropriate location” for the radar, from where the airspace of Manabí province can be monitored. The radar will help identify and track suspicious aircraft that could be transporting drugs.

The general did not disclose the radar's specific model, nor a timetable for the installation. The FAE and Ecuador's civilian aviation agency (Autoridad de Aviación Civil) already jointly operate a number of radars manufactured by the Spanish company Indra, obtained last decade.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso signed executive decree No 157 on 17 August, which created a military zone that covers the Montecristi and San Isidro mountains in Manabí, to allow for the installation of the radar. The proposed facility will cover 2.25 hectares.

Interceptions of suspicious aircraft will probably be launched from Eloy Alfaro Air Base near Manta in Manabí province, where the FAE's Combat Wing No 23 is headquartered. The unit flies Brazilian-made Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano light attack aircraft.

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