Ecuador has opened a tender to acquire a radar system to combat drug smuggling, after a multi-million-dollar deal with China fell through, the defense minister said Tuesday.
Plans to buy four radars from China for $60 million were canceled last year after Ecuador found they were incompatible with its military aircraft.
Spain, France and Italy have been invited to submit bids for the radar system, a process which Defense Minister Fernando Cordero said opened on October 1.
“Ecuador in a few months will have a radar system that covers the entire national territory,” Cordero said.
The radars would be used to guard against drug flights from Ecuadoran air space, as well as protect the country’s borders.
The government of President Rafael Correa decided to acquire the radars following a 2008 cross-border raid by Colombian forces on a leftist FARC guerrilla encampment inside Ecuador.
The attack resulted in 25 deaths, including that of a top FARC leader, and caused a diplomatic crisis between Bogota and Quito.
Correa is in the process of modernizing Ecuador’s military and plans to invest $1.6 billion in upgrades through 2017.