Colombia has purchased 11 radar systems that will be used to improve coastal defense and prevent the smuggling of arms, drugs and other contraband into the country, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said.

"This will allow us to bring Colombia's coasts under a radar system in the next two years that will permit us to locate any irregular movements on the high seas and on the coasts," Pinzon said during an appearance Saturday at the coast guard base in Coveñas, a city in the Caribbean province of Sucre.

The defense minister, however, did not say when the radar systems were acquired or how much they cost.

The new equipment will also permit Colombia to "strengthen civilian navigation because the radar systems function the same as those for air control, allowing for the identification of navigation routes and the ships that are sailing," the defense minister said.

The primary purpose for acquiring the systems, however, is to battle "drug traffickers and criminals," Pinzon said.

The government also purchased three new patrol boats and two Midnight-class speedboats to bolster coastal security, the defense minister said. EFE