Brazil Buying Russian Anti-Air System. Move to Stir Up LatAm and the US

Russian Tor-M2E In a move certain to irk the United States and elevate the temperature of the arms race in Latin America, the Brazilian army is in the process of buying a sophisticated antiaircraft system from the Russians, the Tor-M2E, says Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo.

The new equipment would put Brazil in a much better position in terms of its defense capabilities.

The negotiations with Russia are part of Brazil's rearmament policy and the bilateral talks last December between leaders Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dmitry Medvedev.

A Russian team made up of 10 technicians are in Brazilian capital Brasí­lia today, November 25, to present more details of their proposal on the Tor-M2E system. They are meeting at the Army Headquarters. Brazilian experts visited Moscow in August to have a closer look at the sought-after war equipment.

The Tor-M2E is the last generation of a defense system using land-air missiles developed by the old Soviet Union. Experts consider it the world's most advanced anti-aircraft device. It can be used to knock down airplanes, helicopters, high precision weapons and missiles, using radar. It's used to protect cities and strategic facilities due to its short range capability.

Brazil's current antiaircraft defense is practically nonexistent. All the country has are 200 canons built in the 1950s plus a little over 100 French and Russian portable launchers Mistral and Igla, respectively. Today Brazil has no way to down missiles and would have to use its aging fleet of Mirage-2000 and F-5s if a supersonic jet invades the Brazilian air space.

General Sinclair Mayer, the Army's hardware director confirmed Brazil's interest in the Russian system, but says that at the moment it's all wishful thinking since the Brazilian armed forces don't have the money to acquire this sophisticated Russian equipment.

"From the point of view of antiaircraft defense we are unprotected," he told reporters.

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