High-tech Canadian radar sold to Sri Lanka
[TamilNet, Monday, 28 January 2008, 12:46 GMT]
A high-frequency surface wave radar, hailed as the only one of its
kind in the world and developed with Canadian taxpayer's money at a
cost of $39 million has been sold to Sri Lanka. This high-tech radar,
jointly developed by Canadian defence scientists adn Raytheon Canada
Limited, is capable of monitoring small boats hundreds of kilometers
A high-tech radar intended to monitor small boats operated by drug
dealers and terrorists on B.C.'s coast and developed with Canadian tax
dollars is being installed in Sri Lanka after the federal government
decided it couldn't use the system.
The high-frequency surface wave radar, developed at a cost of $39
million by Ottawa defence scientists and Raytheon Canada Limited, had
been hailed several years ago by federal officials as the only one of
its kind in the world and a major boost for domestic security.
The federal government set aside $43 million to build and operate
eight radar sites on the East and West coasts as part of its push to
improve security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
But the government has shut down the existing experimental radar sites
in Newfoundland, and the program has been cancelled. The project was
derailed after one complaint was received that the radar interfered
with civilian communications. The experimental radars had been
operating for 10 years without a complaint.
But Raytheon Canada, which builds the high-frequency surface wave
radar, is pushing ahead with marketing the system to other nations. It
has sold the radar to Sri Lanka with the help of the Canadian
Commercial Corp., a Crown agency that helps companies market their
products overseas. Other international customers are being lined up,
said Raytheon Canada vice-president Denny Roberts.
"The technology works," Roberts said. "Other countries don't seem to
have a problem with it."
The radar is unique in that it can track ships at much greater
distances than regular surveillance systems. It can detect objects as
far away as 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from Canada's coasts.
The information gathered by the network was to have been fed into the
navy's surveillance centres in Esquimalt and Halifax and shared with
various federal agencies.
Canada has been leading development in the area of surface wave radar
technology. The British government built a similar system during the
Second World War, but it had limited range.
With recent advances in computer processing, scientists from Defence
Research and Development Canada's Ottawa laboratories decided to
revisit the idea.
The system transmits high-frequency waves that follow the curvature of
the Earth to detect and track objects hundreds of kilometres over the
horizon. Regular radars are restricted to objects in their line of
sight on the horizon.
The Canadian navy had hoped the radars would cut down on surveillance
costs, in particular the flying time of Aurora maritime patrol planes.