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Exército Brasileiro - Brazilian Army Modernization

To complement the modernization of the army, Brazil, through the Bernardini company of Sao Paulo, converted all Brazilian Army M41 light tanks into the M41B/M41C configuration. By March 1985, 386 M41 tanks had been upgraded by Bernardini for the Brazilian Army. The Brazilian Marine Corps ordered 35 M41C tanks, these being M41Bs with an up-to-date fire-control system and the 90 mm Ca 76/90 M32 BR3 gun. The army and marine conversion program is now complete, with final deliveries in 1990.

In 1991, Bernardini completed the modernisation of 22 M41 light tanks for Uruguay along similar lines to that carried out for the Brazilian Army. These have a Cockerill 90 mm gun. The M-41C "Caxias" are precisely the cars modernized by Bernardini, whose main changes were the adaptation Cannon 76mm to 90mm caliber, and the replacement of the Continental engine, petrol, 500 HP engine for Scania DS14 diesel, bigger and heavier than the previous. Thus, one way of recognizing the silhouette Caxias is elongated in relation to Walker Bulldog originals, and to observe that the vehicle is tilted slightly backward, characteristic of the C version, which even created the problem premature wear on the tracks. The previous version, M41B, with elongated 90mm cannon was only in prototype [only two were built].

The X1 was constructed using the structure of M3 Stuart, as well as its transmission. The X1A2 was not based on Stuart M3. The unique thing seized American car was the transmission which was the Medium Tractor M4 and steering system of the M3 Stuart.

The crisis in the Brazilian defense sector at the end of the 1980s was fatal for M41 upgrade projects, and the repontentialized or production of armored vehicles came to a critical phase. In 1997, Brazil stated that it had a total of 287 M41 light tanks in service. They were substituted by second-hand material purchased from several countries. Brazil for the first time acquired the MBT (Main Battle Tank), M-60 A3 TTS and LEOPARD 1A 1, respectively from the United States and Belgium, relegating almost at once all the already obsolete M-41C. In 1997, Brazil purchased 128 Belgian Leopard 1s, the last of which were delivered in 1999.

The Army had a variety of Brazilian, European and US, equipment, including 250 German Leopard tanks. According to its strategic planning documents (FT-2000 and FT-2015), the Army wants to focus on building up its intelligence, aviation (including buying Blackhawk helicopters), and electronic warfare capabilities. Brazil had given priority to this heading, the acquisition of locally manufactured materiel using their own and vehicles JARARACA and CASCABEL with guns of 19 and 20 mm.

On 18 December 2008, President Lula signed the National Defense Strategy, concluding a fifteen month drafting exercise. The document was principally drafted by Minister for Strategic Planning Roberto Mangabeira Unger, and it provides a security policy framework that places defense in the context of the government's broader goal of national development. Under this strategy, the doctrine of unequal and joint development has implications in the rearrangement of the naval forces. The most important implication is that the Navy will rebuilt itself, in stages, as a weapon balanced among the underwater, the surface, and the aerospace components.

After more than twenty years outside the political mainstream, and twenty years of minimal resources, the Brazilian military was making a case for its modernization. Making the case, however, means that the Defense Strategy must observe the conventional wisdom of Brazilian politics. While the Army chapter of the strategy includes the seemingly mandatory caution about being prepared to protect Brazil's sovereignty against a country or group of countries acting "on pretext of the supposed interests of humanity," it remains primarily focused on more realistic security challenges. The political preoccupation with imagined threats to sovereignty in the Amazon, however, serves the practical purpose of tasking the military with developing greater capabilities to project power into the region most likely to be affected by instability in neighboring countries.

The Army's strategic instructions focus on restructuring to make the force more mobile and able to engage in non-traditional conflicts. To this end, the Army plans to shift to a brigade model in order to have more deployable units available. These "rapid action forces" are intended to give commanders the ability to react to crises in remote areas with a flexible set of capabilities that can be tailored to the situation. In support of such missions, the Army's acquisition priorities will be improved reconnaissance and communications, helicopters, night vision and fire control technology.

In December 2008, Brazil placed a €1.9bn ($2.72bn) order for 50 EC 725 helicopters - 16 for the navy, 16 for the army and 18 for the air force. The helicopters are being manufactured in Brazil by Eurocopter's subsidiary Helibras. The first three EC 725 helicopters were delivered to Brazil in December 2010. By 2011 four of the 50 rotorcraft ordered had been delivered - one each to the air force, army and navy, with the other for use as a VIP transport. Brazil's armed forces were set to receive a further three Eurocopter EC725s in 2012, with each service again to receive a single unit. Deliveries were to increase to eight in 2013 and 13 the following year. Deliveries are scheduled for completion by 2016. As part of the agreement, these helicopters are to progressively include 50 percent Brazilian-made content. A state-of-the-art assembly facility created by Helibras at Itajubá would produce the EC725s, along with EC225 civilian versions for the regional marketplace.

On 28 October 2009, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) handed over the first of 220 LEOPARD 1A5 main battle tanks to the Brazilian army at the company's site in Kassel, Germany. The tanks came from the reserve stocks of the German army and had been overhauled and modernised since the start of the year. Delivery of all the systems was scheduled by 2012. Brazil purchased the main battle tanks in the context of a government-to-government agreement with Germany. The Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement in its turn commissioned KMW at the end of December 2008 as the general contractor to overhaul the tanks and to develop and install specific Brazilian sub-systems. In addition the contract scope provided the South American country with training equipment, simulators, driver training vehicles and local technical support.

According to the Defense Articulation and Equipment Plan (Plano de Articulação e Equipamento de Defesa or PAED), the Brazilian Army strategic priority projects aimed to equip the Army Brigades with equipment, weapons, transportation and supplies according to their growing needs. The projects would be implemented by 2035 and the total estimated value is R$60 billion (US$34 billion).

  1. Army’s Modernization Program: This includes the modernization and revitalization of M60 combat vehicles, Leopard 1A1 and M113 armored vehicles, Urutu and Cascavel. The program also includes the acquisition of river vessels, vehicles, artillery equipment, ammunition, and IA2 rifles developed by Brazilian industry.
  2. Cyber Defense: This initiative includes the construction of a Cyber Defense Center and acquisition of software and hardware solutions.
  3. Guarani: This project consists of the implementation of a new family of wheeled armored vehicles. The plan calls for 2,044 armored vehicles over the next twenty years. The project includes several subprojects including research and development, integrated logistic support, nationalization of ammunition, infrastructure and professional training.
  4. SISFRON: An integrated border monitoring system to protect Brazil’s borders. The project is divided into nine phases, the first of which came out in 2012 and was won by Consortium Tepro, a group made up by Savis Tecnologia e Sistemas S/A, OrbiSat Industrie e Aerolevantamento.
  5. PROTEGER: This is a complex system composed of units of ground forces to protect strategic infrastructures and systems whose total or partial destruction would be a threat to national security. It will be integrated to the other security systems in the country and will be under Ministry of Defense supervision and coordinated by the Ground Operations Command.
  6. Antiaircraft System: This project’s goal is to upgrade the existing air defense system in order to meet the requirements of the Brazilian Aerospace Defense System (SISDABRA). The anti-aircraft artillery will be equipped with modern instruments and sensors and assisted by an integrated logistics system that supports the equipment during its life cycle.
  7. Astros 2020: The goal of this program is to protect Brazil’s borders and includes the development of a rocket/missile system with a range of up to 300 km, called Astros 2020. The army intends to have two sets of missile launchers and rockets

On 12 April 2011 Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) announced their strategic cooperation for the Brazilian market at the defence exhibition LAAD in Rio de Janeiro. For the industrial support and further development of the Brazilian vehicle fleet, KMW opened its own development, assembly and maintenance centre in the southern Brazilian Santa Maria. The aim of both companies was to offer from this infrastructure also attractive modernisation possibilities for the Brazilian M113 fleet. At LAAD both companies present the M113 transport tank in hardware in an increased-power rated version. Known as WARAN in the market, the increased-power rated version comes with an enhanced driving gear, an enormous storage capacity and a large payload capacity. The extremely versatile transport tank is capable of loading heavy conversion kits or infantry units and protecting them from ballistic or mines threats.

By 2012 the Brazilian Army (EB) had four Armored Cavalry Regiments (RCB), three of them in Rio Grande do Sul (4th RCB in São Luiz Gonzaga; 6th RCB in Alegrete, and 9th RCB in San Gabriel), and one in Mato Grosso do Sul (20th RCB in Campo Grande), this subordinated to Western Military Command (BMC). With the Leopard 1A5 BR program, the EB had planned to standardize its fleet of tanks (CC) with German Leopard 1 as the new Leopard 1A5 would equip Vehicles Combat Regiments (RCC). The Leopard 1BE (known as the EB Leopard 1A1), would be transferred to the RCB and the M60A3 TTS would be written off. However, due to rapid obsolescence and ineffectiveness of Leopard 1BE, whose operation was restricted to a few dozen vehicles, there were not enough to equip four RCB, the plans had to be changed. The solution was to keep running 28 M60A3 TTS DC, at 20th RCB and equip the South RCB with 36 Leopard 1Be (12 for each). The EB allocated a budget of £2 million for the revitalization of the 36 Leopard 1Be, to be able to maintain a minimal degree of operability. However, it became evident that this amount was insufficient, because individual budgeted cost waf $200 thousand per tank.

KMW has presented four proposals:

  • Purchasing a lot of KMW Boxer armored 8X8, equipped with 105mm cannon, but the vehicle for the RCB should be tracked;
  • Acquiring a lot of Leopard 2A4, secondhand, and recovered by KMW, along the lines of 1A5, which would be transferred to the RCC, whereas Leopard 1A5 pass for RCB. This was declined, due to high operating costs and the dimensions of these vehicles;
  • Acquiring another batch of 120 Leopard 1A5 CC, secondhand, half coming from the still existing inventories in Germany (which theoretically did not exist anymore) and the rest of a third country (probably Greece, Italy or Turkey) that would also be recovered by KMW, like today.
  • The joint development between KMW and EB, similar to PFBMR, and manufacturing, in Santa Maria, a new family of armored tracked, including a medium tank (40/45 tons) equipped with a 105mm cannon, which would have a high degree of commonality with the Leopard 1.

In February 2013 Brazil’s Defense Ministry discussed purchasing air defense systems from Russia during talks with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev later this month. "We are interested in acquiring three batteries of Pantsir-S1 missiles and two batteries of Igla missiles," General Jose Carlos De Nardi, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces, said in a statement. The General stated that the parties were working on the contract to purchase two batteries of portable anti-aircraft missile system "Igla" SA-18 MANPADS [the fact that the reference is to "batteries" indicates this is the Strelets vehicle mounted system that can fire four to eight Igla-S missiles.] and three batteries of air defense systems, Pantsir-S [Panzer-C1] SA-22 Greyhound [each of six combat vehicles]. The contract stipulates the technology transfer so that the hardware could be assembled in Brazil. The contract is worth more than one billion dollars.

An agreement, if signed, would envisage the construction of a factory in Brazil and the transfer of technologies, he said. The Pantsir-S, produced by Russia's KBP, is a gun-missile system combining a wheeled vehicle mounting a fire-control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles, and is designed to take on a variety of targets flying at low altitudes.

"The agreement on the transfer of technologies for the subsequent assembly is a mutually beneficial step. As soon as Brazil get the opportunity for the licensed production of Panzer systems, the country will no longer need to announce an international tender for the purchase of air defense systems. The hardware that will be assembled on the territory of the country will be considered the property of the country," a source told the Kommersant newspaper in February 2013 . "The situation on the arms market leaves tenders in the past, many are willing to work only with the creation of joint ventures. We can not turn a blind eye to this," the source added.

Russian design bureau Almaz- Antey had prepared a presentation for Brazil. According to the project, the country should be divided into 5 groups of echeloned air defense systems using only Russian weapons. This includes the creation of systems of three echelons of high, medium and short-range missiles, represented by S-300 missile complexes and various modifications of Buk and Tor systems.

By April 2013 Russia and Brazil were discussing the possibility of the joint development of an advanced surface-to-air missile system, Parana, at the LAAD 2013 defense exhibition in Rio de Janeir. Brazil had a keen interest in Russian-made missile defense systems, and negotiations were also underway concerning licensed manufacturing and the possible joint development and production of new missile defense systems, for example, the advanced Parana surface-to-air missile system. No details about the Parana had yet been disclosed.

The Brazilian army confirmed on 12 April 2013 the intention to buy 34 used anti-aircraft vehicles from the German armed forces, but said the price was still being negotiated. This model, the "Gepard 1A2," was phased out three years earlier by the Bundeswehr and replaced with missile systems. The contract, which was to include provisions for training and maintenance, was to be signed shortly. The Brazilian army officer in command of anti-aircraft artillery, General Marcio Heise, told Globo's G1 online news service that the first eight tanks would arrive in June 2013 and be deployed in the capital, Brasilia. This will be just before the football Confederations Cup kicks off on June 15. The event is a dress rehearsal for the FIFA soccer World Cup to be held in Brazil in 2014, which will be followed by the Summer Olympic Games in 2016.

The Brazilian Army expects to buy 1,200 serial-production VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 amphibious armored vehicles from Brazilian firm Iveco Latin America by the end of 2015. The acquisition process would be sent to Brazil Attorney General of the Union for approval before a contract by the army's High Staff is signed with the contractor. The army had so far purchased 188 vehicles comprising a pilot batch and three batches for doctrinal experimentation.




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