1 December 2021

On November 21 it has been ten years since the Technological Evaluation Model 5 (MET5, in Spanish) of the Argentine Primary Radar 240T (RPA-240T, in Spanish) was first operated. It has been installed in Las Lomitas town, province of Formosa.
The date was a foundational milestone for the Argentine radarization program, in line with the Decree No. 1407 creating the National System of Aerospace Surveillance and Control (SINVICA, in Spanish).
The program, commissioned by the Ministry of Defense, was referred to the then General Direction of Radar Sensors of the Argentine Air Force (FAA, in Spanish) and INVAP S.E.
The joint work and effort of the FAA and INVAP resulted in the installation, start-up and operation of the MET5.
The signing of the contract between both institutions included the design, development, manufacture, testing and homologation of an “Operational Prototype” based on the Operational Requirements and Technical Specifications established by the aforementioned General Direction of Radar Sensors of the FAA.
After four years of work and having successfully passed the tests included in the first four contractual stages of the project’s progress, the MET5 began to operate as a surveillance station, gradually integrating, on an experimental basis, into the then North Shield Operation.
Thus, the MET5 became the first primary 3D air surveillance radar designed, developed and manufactured in Argentina. After the necessary homologation process carried out in Morón city, the serial production of the RPAs started.
Today, there are RPA-240T units providing services in the towns of Pirané, Las Lomitas and Ingeniero Juárez, in the Province of Formosa; San Pedro, Province of Misiones; Villaguay, Province of Entre Ríos; and Merlo, Province of Buenos Aires; soon there will be new units in Mercedes, Province of Corrientes.
The success of this project allowed to speed up the access to a mature mastery of radar technology, which is now reflected in new projects. The development and production of this sensitive technology made it possible to replace exports, create genuine sources of employment, and contribute to the national sovereignty.
Consolidated relations
The FAA and INVAP continue to make progress with the development of the RPA Series 2 program (which includes one RPA-240T unit plus five RPA-200F units) and with the RAXA-POD contract referring to an X-band radar for the POD of the Pucará-Fénix aircraft.
In this regard, contracts are carried out with the Argentine Air Navigation Company (EANA, in Spanish) to supply three primary radars with secondary monopulse and ADS-B for the airports of Ezeiza, Córdoba and Mendoza; a new S Mode Argentine Monopulse Secondary Radar (RSMA, in Spanish) with ADS-B for that of Paraná; as well as to modernize and extend the lifetime of 22 RSMAs, including the incorporation of S Mode and ADS-B.
The first sale of Argentine radar technology abroad was recently completed with the signing of the contract between INVAP and the company Jampur International FZE, of the United Arab Emirates. The aim of the operation is to provide two RPA-200MC models for civil use of the 3D mobile primary radars to be installed in Nigeria.
With this recent export, INVAP confirms a successful business model it has been using in other areas, such as the nuclear and space ones, which consists in competitively satisfying the strategic technological needs of the country so as to later open new export markets based on these developments.