The National Defense Strategy (END) plan signed by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in 2008, should provide for the modernization of the Brazilian Armed Forces.
Lula had advanced his program with an eye to winning a permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council. Few measures provided for in the decree have been implemented, however.
The army with 200,000 soldiers, for example, is in very bad shape. According to a report by the generals, made public by the G1 site, the Army has ammunition available for about one hour of war.
Meanwhile, the first of three BAE Systems built Ocean Patrol Vessels, the Amazonas, being delivered to the Brazilian Navy, departed the UK for Rio de Janeiro last week after her crew completed a rigorous program of Flag Officer Sea Training with the Royal Navy off the South coast of England.
Supported by a team from BAE Systems, the crew’s extensive training program included navigation and duty watch training, as well as development and familiarization of operational procedures for safety and security in areas including material assessment of the ship, emergency exercises and machinery breakdown drills.
The crew also completed boarding operations and anti-piracy exercises and tactics to ensure Amazonas returns to Brazil safely and fully prepared for the demanding operational role ahead.
Nigel Stewart, Commercial Director of BAE Systems Maritime, said: “Saying farewell to the first ship in the Amazonas class is a significant stage in our ongoing relationship with the Brazilian Navy and is a source of great pride to those who worked on her. We look forward to continuing our work with the Brazilian Navy to deliver the next two Ocean Patrol Vessels Apa and Araguari over the coming months”.
Lieutenant-Commander Giovani Corrêa, Brazilian Navy’s Commanding Officer of Amazonas, said: “The ship has proved herself to be a highly capable vessel and her crew is looking forward to the challenges of her first ocean voyage as we head to her new home in Brazil. The FOST training was a great success and allowed us to learn more about the Royal Navy’s procedures as we continually develop our own for this new class of ship”.
Following her departure from HM Naval Base Portsmouth, Amazonas will complete a series of diplomatic visits in Europe and Africa before arriving in Rio de Janeiro in October. On arrival in Brazil, Amazonas and her crew will undergo an operational assessment before joining the Brazilian fleet.
They will then take part in further sea training with Comissão de Inspeção e Assessoria de Adestramento (the Commission for Inspecting and Advising Procedures) or CIAsA, which is designed to further ensure the ship is ready to begin her role of maritime security, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief operations.
The FOST training forms part of a US$ 209 million contract for the supply of the three Ocean Patrol Vessels and ancillary support services announced in January. The contract also includes a manufacturing licence to enable further vessels of the same class to be constructed in Brazil, helping to support the country’s naval re-equipment program and strengthen its maritime industrial capability.
First of class Amazonas was constructed at BAE Systems’ Portsmouth facility. Her sister ships Apa and Araguari were built at the company’s Scotstoun shipyard on the Clyde and are expected to be delivered to the Brazilian Navy in December 2012 and April 2013 respectively.
The Brazilian Army and Iveco signed a contract for the purchase of 86 VBTP MR wheeled armored personnel carriers known as Guarani. President of Iveco Latin America, Marco Mazzu, said that he was proud to participate in the “renaissance of the defense industry in Brazil”.
Minister Celso Amorim, in turn, said the start of production of the Guarani marks the implementation of the Defense Organization and Equipment Plan (PAED).
He said that it is noteworthy that “the PAED is becoming reality,” and that its implementation will contribute to strengthen the Brazilian defense industry.
Amorim also noted that 48 of 86 vehicles under the contract were included in the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) financing facilities of the Federal Government. Altogether, the Ministry of Defense will receive 1.527 billion Reais’ worth of PAC equipment.
In addition to the 40 Guarani vehicles, the funds will be used for purchase of 4.170 trucks and 30 Astros 2020 missile launch Vehicles. The transfer of the funds money was authorized in late June, through a Provisional Measure signed by President Rousseff.
Developed with Brazilian technology through a joint project between the Army Technology Center and Iveco, part of the Fiat Industrial Group, the Guarani is a six-wheel drive amphibious vehicle that will serve as the basis for a new family of armored multi-mission vehicles capable of carrying out reconnaissance and fire support missions.