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The Brazilian Armed Forces ( ) comprise the Brazilian Army (including the Brazilian Army Aviation), the Brazilian Navy (including the Brazilian Marine Corps and Brazilian Naval Aviation) and the Brazilian Air Force.


The Armed Forces of Brazil are divided into 3 branches:

The Military Police (state police) is described as an ancillary force of the Army. All military branches are part of the Ministry of Defence.

The Brazilian Navy which is the oldest of the Brazilian Armed Forces, includes the Brazilian Marine Corps and the Brazilian Naval Aviation. Brazil has the most powerful military of South America, and so are each of its military branches.

Military history of Brazil

Since 1648 the Brazilian Armed Forces have been relied upon to fight in defense of Brazilian sovereignty and to suppress civil rebellions. The Brazilian military has also four times intervened militarily to overthrow the Brazilian government. It has built a tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping missions such as in Haitimarker and East Timormarker. Below a list of some of the historical events in which the Brazilian Armed Forces took part:

  • Brazilian War of Independence (1822-1824) - Series of military campaigns that had as objective to cement Brazilian sovereignty and end Portuguese resistance.

  • War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870) - Also known as the Paraguayan War. Over 200,000 Brazilians fought on this conflict, which is considered as the most serious in Brazilian history.

  • War of Canudos (1893-1897) - The deadliest rebellion of Brazil, the insurrectionists defeated the first 3 military forces sent to quell the rebellion.

  • Brazil during World War I - Brazil entered into World War I in 1917 alongside with the Triple Entente. Brazil's Effort in World War I occurred mainly in the Atlantic campaign, and a smaller participation in the land warfare.

Brazilian military coup d'états

Although no military coups occurred during the 67 years of the Brazilian Empiremarker, the Republican period experienced 4 military coup d'états in the 75 years between 1889 and 1964.

Mission and challenges

South America is a relatively peaceful continent in which wars are a rare event; as a result, Brazil hasn't had its territory invaded since year 1865 during the War of the Triple Alliance. Additionally, Brazil has no territorial disputes with any of its neighbours and neither does it have bitter rivalries, like Chilemarker and Boliviamarker have with each other. However, Brazil is the only country besides Chinamarker and Russiamarker that has land borders with 10 or more nations. Moreover, Brazil has 16,880 kilometers (10,488 miles) of land borders and of coastline to be patrolled and defended. Overall, the Armed Forces have to defend 8.5 million km2 (around 3.2 million sq. mi.) of land and patrol 4.4 million km2 (around 1.7 million sq. mi.) of territorial waters—or Blue Amazon, as the Brazilian Navy calls them. In order to achieve this mission properly, significant quantities of both man power and funding have to be made available.

Insufficient investments

Payments for personnel and pensions absorb most of the Defense budget, limiting the amount of investments in maintenance and new equipment. Between 2001 and 2007, just R$11.1 billion, roughly US$6.1 billion, were invested in the military. For 2008, USD $5.6 billion (out of a total Defense budget of USD $24.4 billion) are expected to be invested in new equipments.

Only 267 or 37% of the Air Force's aircraft are operational, lack of maintenance and spare parts have grounded 452 aircraft. Adding to this problem is the fact that 60% of the aircrafts are 20 years old or older.

The Navy is also facing difficulties. A 2007 report pointed out that not only the Navy had just 21 combat surface ships to patrol of coastline, but also only 10 of those ships were operational. Additionally, most operational ships are plagued with operating restrictions. Out of the Navy's 5 submarines, only one is fully operational, another two operate with restrictions, and 27 or 46% of the Navy's 58 helicopters are inoperable.

And the Brazilian Army is enduring challenges as well. Seventy-eight percent of all Army vehicles are 34 years or older and some trucks date back to World War II. General Enzo Martins Peri added the fact that most of the Army's artillery guns are also from World War II. Out of the Army's 1,437 armored vehicles, over 40% are not combat ready, and 40% or 2,670 of the Army's vehicles are not operational. General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, then commander of the Amazonian Military Command stated that some weapons have been in use for more than 40 years. Lastly, the amount of ammunition stock is only 15% of what is recommended.

Extensive Modernization Program

Recently, Brazil has began to emerge as a major world power and a potential superpower; thus Brazil has begun to develop as a major military power. In 2008 the Brazilian minister of defense has formulated the “Estratégia Nacional de Defesa” (National defense Strategy), that claims to build a strong national industry and make strategic partnerships with allied nations to develop technology together..

In 2008, Brazil has signed a strategic partnership with Francemarker and Russiamarker to trade military technology. Brazil has also begun negotiations with France to have Brazil build 120 Rafale aircraft locally by Embraer. Also in 2008 the Brazilian company Embraer showcased the Brazilian transport aircraft, Embraer KC-390, and some countries already have shown interest in the aircraft, with France even placing orders. In 2009 Brazil purchased 4 Scorpène submarines for US $9.9 billion with a massive technology transfer agreement. In a second agreemtn, France will provide technical assistance to Brazil so that Brazil can design and produce indigenous nuclear powered submarines, to be completely built in Brazil.

The Brazilian government has announced that a Helibras factory in Itajubámarker, Minas Geraismarker, will initially produce 50 units of the EC 725 and up to 1,300 new helicopters for the Brazilian military. Helibras will now also produce Eurocopter's full line of products, with the first units to be operational in 2010.

The Department of Defense of Brazil, in 2009 also asked the Brazilian Navy to develop a plan for the next 30 years. To carry out the plans of power projection that Brazil wants to run, the expenditure will cost more than $138 billion US dollars, within the Navy alone. The program is called PEAMB. The strategy is to buy or build 2 aircraft carriers (40 000 tonnes), 4 LHD (20 000 tonnes), 30 escort ships, 15 submarines, 5 nuclear submarines and 62 (patrol ships).

In July of 2009, the minister of defense, Nelson Jobim, said that Brazil will expend about 0.7% ($13 billion USD) of the GDP per year to modernize the forces in addition to the 2.6% yearly defense budget. He stated, "We are raising a study to make the financial schedule of the entire project. It will be a 20 year plan, including modernization and expansion of the elements for defense of the Brazilian territory.

Troop relocation

Brazil has the need to patrol its 16,880 kilometers (10,488 miles) of land borders. Since the 1990s Brazil has been relocating its forces in accordance to this national security requirement.

Between 1992 and 2008, the 1st, 2nd and 16th Jungle Infantry Brigades, the 3rd Infantry Battalion, the 19th Logistics Battalion, and the 22nd Army Police Platoon were transferred by the Army from the states of Rio de Janeiromarker and Rio Grande do Sul to the Amazon region. After those redeployments the number of Army troops in that region rose to 25,000. Also relocated from the state of Rio de Janeiromarker were the 1st and 3rd Combat Cars Regiment, now stationed in the city of Santa Mariamarker, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

However, despite those efforts, the presence of the Armed Forces on the border regions of the Brazilian Amazon continues to be sparse and disperse, given the fact that the Army has just 28 border detachments in that area, a total of 1,600 soldiers, or 1 men for every .) of borders. More redeployments are expected since the states of Rio de Janeiromarker, Minas Geraismarker and Espirito Santo still concentrate over 49,000 soldiers. On May 2008, the Navy announced new plans to reposition its forces throughout Brazilmarker.

Service obligation and manpower

The age for voluntary service is 18–45 years, and an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals. Brazil's military manpower, as of a 2005 estimate, is 33 million males aged 19–49 and 38 million females aged 19–49 fit for military service.

Males in Brazil are required to enlist for serving 12 months of military service upon their 18th birthday. However, most enlisted are dismissed and do not serve at all. Most often, the service is performed in military bases as close as possible to the person's home. There are several exemptions to compulsory service, including health reasons, tattoos (infection risk), height and weight etc.

Women were allowed to serve in the armed forces for the first time in the early 1980s, when the Brazilian Army became the first in South America to accept women into career ranks.

See also

External links


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