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The reasons behind the installation of the British radar in Tierra del Fuego

In mid-June, Radar International presented a hypothesis about the possible dual use, civil and military, of a radar being installed in Tierra del Fuego by the North American company Leolabs through two British subsidiaries.

10 de August de 2023 19:29

Being able to circle the world means that a hypersonic missile can be directed at the United States from anywhere, and that is where Argentina comes into play.

It is in this context that the question arises again, Why install a radar in Tierra del Fuego? What is the real interest in this movement?

To answer these questions, it is important to first review a little history. From the Second World War until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the configuration of power in the international system was characterized by the existence of two axes that were opposite and transversal to all the areas: United States and the Soviet Union. This world is called a bipolar world, since there are two opposing poles with very different visions, institutions, economies, idiosyncrasies, cultures and societies. The power dispute between these two systems was called the Cold War.

Speaking at the military level, the fundamental element that burst into the dynamics of the international system during the postwar period was the nuclear weapon. Under the realistic view of international relations, this was undoubtedly a game-changer in the dynamics in which countries relate to each other. These nuclear weapons led, during the Cold War, to the logic of MAD or Mutual Assured Destruction . Briefly, this logic meant that it was assured that both superpowers would destroy each other with the use of nuclear weapons. in case a war breaks out between them.

This was also a deterrent feature, since this logic was what prevented an open war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Returning to the topic of radars, during the second half of the 20th century, ICBMs or intercontinental ballistic missiles began to be used. These intercontinental ballistic missiles have the capacity to reach targets up to more than 10,000 kilometers away, using a ballistic trajectory that involves a significant ascent to more than 100km in height, including suborbital and even orbital trajectories, and then re-enter the target. By flying at this enormous altitude, radars developed at the time could detect, track and facilitate the shooting down of missiles.

Under this attack logic, the United States could be attacked mainly from the north and west as the Soviet threat was above that projection. This meant that both the United States and Canada in 1958 jointly founded the NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) , developing the ability to detect intercontinental ballistic missiles early in order to facilitate the prevention of any Soviet attack.

Irruption of hypersonic missiles

Continuing on the military level, a new technology once again disrupted how States perceive the danger of other States. I am referring to the fact that Russia, and later China, developed their new hypersonic missile in recent years, a technology that put the North American missile defense system in check.

Unlike intercontinental ballistic missiles, the new hypersonic missiles do not need to ascend to orbital heights to reach their target, but rather have the characteristic of being able to “glide” at between 25 and 50km in height, allowing them to circle the planet several times . In turn, ICBMs have a linear trajectory while hypersonic missiles can change course and target once the missile is launched.

In terms of speed, hypersonic missiles fly faster than the speed of sound (Mach 5). Despite there being no specific public information about these, in the case of the Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal it is estimated that it reaches Mach 10, which would be around 12,000km/h . According to experts in the field, the fuel of this The missile is a kind of “gel” that allows this tremendous speed to be achieved without raising enough heat to disintegrate the missile in the attempt. This “gel” used as fuel is what the Americans still cannot figure out exactly how to do.

Taking into account everything developed about the North American anti-missile defense system, designed to monitor linear ballistic flight routes, these new hypersonic weapons could violate these systems and that has raised an alarm in the main Western powers since the detection of the missile would be considerably later and therefore imply a much greater danger. Furthermore, being able to circle the world means that the missile can come from anywhere, and that is where Argentina comes into play.

Without a doubt, Argentina plays a fundamental geopolitical role in this regard. If these missiles are used, a radar in Tierra del Fuego would allow the early detection of a missile planned to attack the United States from the south.Furthermore, this station would become a military objective in the event of a global war.

By Agenda Malvinas


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