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Brazil Gets Ready to Fight on the High Seas and Sets Aside US$ 1.8 Bi for New Warships

A mock-up of a Tamandaré class corvette is shown to Brazilian authorities A mock-up of a Tamandaré class corvette is shown to Brazilian authorities

The Brazilian Navy finalized on May 10th the first stage of the process that will result in the construction of four Tamandaré class corvettes. The kickoff was a public announcement inviting Brazilian and foreign companies and consortiums to participate in a future bidding process through which the party responsible for building these ships will be chosen.

Those interested must have proven experience building technologically complex military vessels with the potential to move more than 2,500 tons. Within a month, 21 companies and consortiums from different countries answered the Navy’s initial announcement. The next step will take place during the second half of 2017 with the release of the technical specifications of the ship’s design.

Acquiring the corvettes is one of the Navy’s top priorities, along with developing new conventional and nuclear-powered submarines, said Rear Admiral Petronio Augusto Siqueira de Aguiar, head of the Navy’s Program Management Board.

He explained that the decision regarding the Tamandaré class vessels is based on a broader objective of expanding and modernizing the Brazilian Navy’s operational capacity. After that, a series of surface vessels is expected to be acquired, which includes not only corvettes, but also frigates, logistic support vessels, and amphibious ships.

“The main advantage of acquiring Tamandaré class corvettes is the new ship’s flexibility, able to perform an array of tasks like protecting naval units, attacks on submarines, patrolling Brazil’s territorial waters to protect economic activities, and even participating in areas under the auspices of international organizations in support of our foreign policy,” Rear Adm. Petronio stated.

Security and Comfort

The Navy’s squadron includes two corvettes, both built at the Navy Arsenal in Rio de Janeiro and “employed in various missions throughout Brazil’s territorial sea [nearly 22 kilometers from the coast] and abroad,” explained Rear Admiral Flávio Augusto Viana Rocha, director of the Navy’s Social Communications Center.

The first to join the Brazilian warship fleet was the corvette Inhaúma, in 1989. While the corvette Barroso came along nearly 20 years later, in 2008, and has been used in the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, in which it was the flagship vessel until March.

According to Rear Adm. Rocha, the Inhaúma and Barroso corvettes shall remain in service, even after the Tamandaré class corvettes have joined the fleet.

Several aspects of the new corvettes’ design have been highlighted as significant enhancements in relation to the vessels currently in operation. Among them is being stealthier as a result of redefining the design of the hull lines to reduce the ship’s visibility on enemy radar screens.

“The issue of stealth is related to the secrecy of operations and the ability to conceal the ship,” Rear Adm. Petronio explained. With that “the corvettes will be able to operate discretely in an area of interest and enable the element of surprise when conducting their activities in our territorial waters,” he added.

The design of the Tamandaré class corvettes also involves innovation in terms of service members’ comfort and security, in addition to environmental concerns.

Thus, the ship’s interior layout was designed to provide better conditions for those who are going to work inside of it. It is expected to accommodate 136 people, to include crew members, divers, marines, pilots, and aircraft mechanics.

In terms of the service members’ security, it aims to apply better monitoring resources of the ship’s various areas, and to incorporate labor-saving technologies in flood and fire prevention systems.

Additionally, a few technologies expected to be employed on these corvettes will reduce gas emissions and improve the treatment of sanitary waste, kitchen waste, and oily residue.

Regarding these ships’ combat system configuration, consisting of weapons, sensors, a tactical system, and weapons-firing direction systems, Rear Adm. Petronio stated that they “will have the necessary requirements for top-notch operation in surface, anti-air, electronic, and anti-submarine warfare actions.”

Investment in the four Tamandaré class corvettes is estimated to reach upwards of US$ 1.8 billion. In the project’s initial timetable, construction of the vessels is scheduled to commence in 2019. Deliveries are expected to occur within three years, between 2022 and 2025.

The four vessels should preferably be built in Brazil, Rear Adm. Petronio said, but the Navy believes it is necessary to select a foreign shipyard with proven experience in making this type of ship. By doing so, risks are expected to be mitigated in developing and obtaining the ships’ expected performance.

“A foreign shipyard’s participation will enable Brazilian candidates to acquire the qualifications to execute the project, through the necessary transfer of technology,” Rear Adm. Petronio said.

This article appeared originally in Diálogo – https://dialogo-americas.com

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It seems the future never arrives in Brazil What Lies Ahead in Brazil? Brazil Has No Exemplary Past or Present. But What Lies Ahead for the Country? Europeans, US, developed country, developing country. Bolsonaro, future B. Michael Rubin For years, experts have debated what separates a developing country from a developed one. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a country is one simple way to measure its economic development. Another way to measure a country's progress is the extent of public education, e.g. how many citizens complete high school. A country's health may be measured by the effectiveness of its healthcare system, for example, life expectancy and infant mortality. With these measurement tools, it's easier to gauge the difference between a country like Brazil and one like the U.S. What's not easy to gauge is how these two countries developed so differently when they were both "discovered" at the same time. In 1492 and 1500 respectively, the U.S. and Brazil fell under the spell of white Europeans for the first time. While the British and Portuguese had the same modus operandi, namely, to exploit their discoveries for whatever they had to offer, not to mention extinguishing the native Americans already living there if they got in the way, the end result turned out significantly different in the U.S. than in Brazil. There are several theories on how/why the U.S. developed at a faster pace than Brazil. The theories originate via contrasting perspectives – from psychology to economics to geography. One of the most popular theories suggests the divergence between the two countries is linked to politics, i.e. the U.S. established a democratic government in 1776, while Brazil's democracy it could be said began only in earnest in the 1980s. This theory states that the Portuguese monarchy, as well as the 19th and 20th century oligarchies that followed it, had no motivation to invest in industrial development or education of the masses. Rather, Brazil was prized for its cheap and plentiful labor to mine the rich soil of its vast land. There is another theory based on collective psychology that says the first U.S. colonizers from England were workaholic Puritans, who avoided dancing and music in place of work and religious devotion. They labored six days a week then spent all of Sunday in church. Meanwhile, the white settlers in Brazil were unambitious criminals who had been freed from prison in Portugal in exchange for settling in Brazil. The Marxist interpretation of why Brazil lags behind the U.S. was best summarized by Eduardo Galeano, the Uruguayan writer, in 1970. Galeano said five hundred years ago the U.S. had the good fortune of bad fortune. 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In thirty years, it may no longer be necessary to accept the label characterized by Nelson Rodrigues's famous phrase "complexo de vira-lata," for Brazil's national inferiority complex. For Brazilians, this future scenario presents glistening hope. A country with stronger economic power would mean the government has greater wealth to expend on infrastructure, crime control, education, healthcare, etc. What many Brazilians are not cognizant of are the pitfalls of economic prosperity. While Brazilians today may be envious of their wealthier northern neighbors, there are some aspects of a developed country's profile that are not worth envying. For example, the U.S. today far exceeds Brazil in the number of suicides, prescription drug overdoses, and mass shootings. GDP growth and economic projections depend on multiple variables, chief among them the global economic situation and worldwide political stability. A war in the Middle East, for example, can affect oil production and have global ramifications. Political stability within a country is also essential to its economic health. Elected presidents play a crucial role in a country's progress, especially as presidents may differ radically in their worldview. The political paths of the U.S. and Brazil are parallel today. In both countries, we've seen a left-wing regime (Obama/PT) followed by a far-right populist one (Trump/Bolsonaro), surprising many outside observers, and in the U.S. contradicting every political pollster, all of whom predicted a Trump loss to Hillary Clinton in 2016. In Brazil, although Bolsonaro was elected by a clear majority, his triumph has created a powerful emotional polarization in the country similar to what is happening in the U.S. Families, friends, and colleagues have split in a love/hate relationship toward the current presidents in the U.S. and Brazil, leaving broken friendships and family ties. Both presidents face enormous challenges to keep their campaign promises. In Brazil, a sluggish economy just recovering from a recession shows no signs of robust GDP growth for at least the next two years. High unemployment continues to devastate the consumer confidence index in Brazil, and Bolsonaro is suffering under his campaign boasts that his Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes, has all the answers to fix Brazil's slump. Additionally, there is no end to the destruction caused by corruption in Brazil. Some experts believe corruption to be the main reason why Brazil has one of the world's largest wealth inequality gaps. Political corruption robs government coffers of desperately needed funds for education and infrastructure, in addition to creating an atmosphere that encourages everyday citizens to underreport income and engage in the shadow economy, thereby sidestepping tax collectors and regulators. "Why should I be honest about reporting my income when nobody else is? 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Journalists noted that this new regulation had coincidental timing for an American journalist who has come under fire from Moro for publishing private communications of Moro's. Nevertheless, despite overselling his leadership skills, Bolsonaro has made some economic progress. With the help of congressional leader Rodrigo Maia, a bill is moving forward in congress for the restructuring of Brazil's generous pension system. Most Brazilians recognize the long-term value of such a change, which can save the government billions of dollars over the next decade. At merely the possibility of pension reform, outside investors have responded positively, and the São Paulo stock exchange has performed brilliantly, reaching an all-time high earlier this month. 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Should Bolsonaro find a way to reform the tax system, the pension system, and curb the most egregious villains of political bribery and kickbacks – a tall order – his efforts could indeed show strong economic results in time for the next election in 2022. Meanwhile, some prominent leaders have already lost faith in Bolsonaro's efforts. The veteran of political/economic affairs, Joaquim Levy, has parted company with the president after being appointed head of the government's powerful development bank, BNDES. Levy and Bolsonaro butted heads over an appointment Levy made of a former employee of Lula's. When neither man refused to back down, Levy resigned his position at BNDES. Many observers believe Bolsonaro's biggest misstep has been his short-term approach to fixing the economy by loosening the laws protecting the Amazon rainforest. He and Guedes believe that by opening up more of the Amazon to logging, mining, and farming, we will see immediate economic stimulation. 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