United States donate sea observation radar in Sao Tome and Principe

9 October 2006

Washington, USA, 09 Oct – The United States confirmed Thursday that they would donate a sophisticated sea observation radar system to Sao Tome and Principe, to monitor activities in its waters and “neighboring areas.”

The system to be installed in Sao Tome has an estimated cost of US$18 million and, according to the US Navy includes radars, antennas and infra-red binoculars.

Military authorities said that the system would take two years to builds and that US technicians would remain in Sao Tome after its construction to ensure that Sao Tome’s “military and civilians” were qualified to operate the system.

These sources said, however, that most of the personnel involved in building the system would be civilian and that after it was built the system would be totally controlled by Sao Tome rather than by the United States.

The structure includes a radar system that can provide information about sea vessels within a 25 kilometer radius and antennas that can detect signals sent by large ships at a distance of up to 150 kilometers.

Pentagon spokespeople said that identical systems may be supplied to other countries in the region and that the United States were encouraging those countries to share information on activities in their waters.

The decision to donate the system to Sao Tome was discussed during a recent visit to Washington by President Fradique de Menezes and is confirmation of the growing importance Sao Tome has in the US strategy to increase its presence in the Gulf of Guinea. (macauhub)