Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Defense, Miscellaneous, People & Places » Civil Aviation to Get $12 Million Radar
Jan 17, 2020

Civil Aviation to Get $12 Million Radar

The illegal airplane landings have increased in recent years and civil aviation and security authorities believe that a new radar system will help to crack down, or at lease track these previously undetected planes once they are within Belize’s airspace. The twelve million dollar primary radar system will boost the way civil aviation manages air navigation, while it helps to keep registered aircraft and passengers safe. Today, the civil aviation signed the agreement with COCESNA and INDRA. News Five was there. Here’s the story.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

In a few months time it will be a lot more difficult for illegal plane landings and other illicit activities carried out by way of Belize’s airspace to go undetected. That’s because today the Civil Aviation Department signed an agreement for Belize to get a primary radar which will be installed between August and September of this year. This radar, according Director of Civil Aviation, Lindsay Garbutt will provide critical surveillance and support to Belize’s airspace, including getting airplanes safely to and from their destinations. Right now, the department is using only secondary radar – but with the addition of the primary one, the department will now connect to the rest of Central America for airspace support and data.


Lindsay Garbutt

Lindsay Garbutt, Director, Civil Aviation

“Therefore, it provides a more consistent and secure surveillance of the Belizean airspace. It also allows us to have more safety for our pilots and airplanes, and the more than two hundred thousand-movement that we have in our airspace, allows us to be able to guide them around weather condition, something that the secondary radar doesn’t provide. Now we have two radars, so if one goes down the other is up. So, we can always provide the kind of coverage that we need. It allows us to interconnect with the rest of Central America, so if one of their radars go down, we can provide support and vice-versa.  We are on the level of the rest of the world. This is cutting edge and that is what the partnership with INDRA provides us. The equipment that we have are as good as you’d find anywhere in the aviation world.”


The twelve-million-dollar radar was to be obtained until 2022 – but according to Garbutt, it’s here two years earlier because they have lobbied and regional partners at COCESNA responded with the support of INDRA.


Lindsay Garbutt

“Twelve million dollars is not something you just find standing up and you just pull it out of your pocket. COCESSNA’s primarily responsibility is to provide aviation service, which is generally provided by a secondary radar. Being a member of COCESSNA and recognizing the total importance of going beyond the needs of aviation and but looking at the national security interest, we were able to successfully negotiate the provision of a primary radar going beyond just the aviation needs of Belize.”


And going beyond the aviation needs is a critical element that has been missing for Belize to tackle the increasing landings of illicit aircrafts. These aircrafts that don’t want to be detected can elude the secondary radar system by turning off a piece of equipment called the transponder.  But in a few months time those uninvited aircrafts will not be able to go undetected as long as they are within the space of operations of this primary radar.


David Jones

David Jones, Security Consultant, Civil Aviation Department

“It is a welcomed asset for national security. In the past we have had just the secondary radar that would be able to pick up the aircraft that come into Belize that would have their transponder on. Now, for particular aircraft that doesn’t come in and would do illicit things like drug traffic, more than often wouldn’t have their transponder on. If an aircraft is coming in to the country illegally they would turn that device off and we wouldn’t be able to pick them up with the secondary radar. Now with the primary radar even if that is turned off, we will be able to pick them up. So, that information is going to be shared with our joint intelligence and operations center so they will be able to have real time information regards to all aircraft that are coming into the country.”


And the information received on this high tech primary radar system will be shared in real time by law enforcement authorities. But having the information and being able to respond will require security forces to be resourced and coordinated.


David Jones

“They will get a feed from here. It will be sent direct. So, the Joint Intelligence and Operations Center will have the view that our air traffic controllers are seeing right in their center. So, based on the information that they are receiving, they will be able to react on it immediately if they wish.  It will now be a matter for the Belize Defence Force and the Police Department who will be working jointly together with our assistance if needs be. It will depend on their resources, tactics, and techniques, procedures, in regards to trying to interdict anything illicit that is coming in because they will be able to see real time legal aircraft and possibly illicit aircraft as well. So, the country is huge. Dependent on their resources and their ability to maximize use of resources they will be able to better now interdict what is coming in illicitly.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed