Image credits: Image by Andy Leung from Pixabay
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News Article

Mexican Radar to Monitor Mexico’s Airspace

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 12:42

The Tzinacan radars, developed jointly by the local Navy (SEMAR), Army (SEDENA) and CONACYT, will monitor Mexico’s airspace at the country’s borders and other strategic locations. Named after the nahualt name for the prehispanic “Bat God,” the Tzinacan uses 2D and 3D radar technology to locate the precise location of flying objects, allowing it to support local security and surveillance efforts. CONACYT also explained that the development of Tzinacan allowed the generation of technology in many areas including design and construction of antenna, digital radiofrequency and potency systems.

According to CONACYT, the project was developed over four years and four months through five different stages and involved the creation of new research divisions specifically for this purpose, which were co-financed by the three government entities. These research divisions included a microwave and radiofrequency laboratory, a mechatronics laboratory, one for software and signal processing and an antenna laboratory, all praised by the local government for their contribution to the country’s body of knowledge in radar technology and other fields.

Radar technology has a very broad range of applications including the detection and tracking of airplanes, spacecraft and drones, but radars can also support research activities such as tracking insects and small birds. Radars are also used for military purposes to detect enemy airplanes or missiles. For instance, during the Cold War, the US built a network of twelve radars that would detect a missile attack with 15 to 25 minutes warning time called the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). While early radars were only able to indicate position and distance, modern radars also have imaging, identification, navigation, targeting, guidance and mapping capabilities. As radar technology advanced, so did stealth technology to hide flying objects from radars, leading to continuous research efforts on both sides of the field.

The knowledge acquired during the development and construction of Tzinacan led to the generation of research lines that will be used in the next generation of radars, which are currently being developed by the Research and Technological Development Institute of Mexico’s Army (INIDETAM). The new radars will contribute to the army’s monitoring activities in Mexican territory. The Tzinacan project was concluded in March of this year but the COVID-19 outbreak caused the radar’s presentation to be delayed until September.