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The importance of the Brazilian air protection

Marcelo Rech

Despite the serious political and economical crisis that paralyses the country, Brazil keeps on fulfilling an important role along with the international community. And, in order to implement plans to preserve its remaining regional leadership, the country needs to focus its attention to its Armed Forces. This is not news at all, but it becomes more and more urgent. The moment demands concrete and less rhetorical actions.

According to most of the Brazilian military specialists, the anti-aircraft defense forces of Brazil demand a deep modernization, once the current equipments are not able to guarantee the necessary protection of the land, sea and air frontiers, for example.

In the last years, one of the best offers for the adaptation of the Brazilian anti-aircraft defense forces came from Russia, country that is leader in the development and manufacture of all systems of anti-aircraft defense of the world.

Recently, it was said here that Russia maintains agreements of technical-military cooperation with more than 90 countries, and contracts with at least 60. That would not be possible if the quality of these equipments was not verified.

In December of 2012, in the meeting of the Commission of Technical-Military Cooperation of Russia, president Vladimir Putin said that one of the important directions of the increase of exports of Russian weapons are research, developments and organization of the joint production of the military equipments. At the same time, he pointed out, a special attention would be given to the cooperation in the context of the BRICS.

Brazil is already armed with Russian portable systems of anti-aircraft missiles Igla-S, surface-to-air, also known by the acronym MANPADs (Man Portable Air Defense System). Besides, in the conversations with the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, during the Seventh Meeting of the Russian-Brazilian Comission of High Level of Cooperation, carried out in Moscow on September 16 of 2015, vice president Michel Temer confirmed the readiness of the country to acquire the systems of anti-aircraft defense Pantsir-S1 for the Brazilian Armed Forces.

The negotiations, for the time being, include full transfer of technology, allowing the manufacture of systems that will be one-hundred percent national within no more than six years after signing the contract.

It is important to point out that the agreements of technological transfer for the deepening of the cooperation are extremely beneficial. In this way, Brazil would be able to license the production of the same Pantsir-S1, without the need opening a international bidding for the purchase of systems of anti-aircraft defense. Brazil will be able to become an exporter, using facilities built in the country and having equipments produced by the national private sector.

It is obvious that the Brazilian choice on behalf of Russia bases itself on the unquestionable advantages of systems of anti-aircraft missiles of this country. There is no equivalent to the Pantsir-S1 in the Western market. It can be shot in movement while protects moving columns. The vehicles employ their radars of shooting management, with more than 30 km of reach, to detect possible threats. In defensive position, the battery can be installed in land in less than ten minutes.

The launchers are controlled remotely by a shooting unit fed by two radars of acquisition with reach superior to 80 km. The system is able to follow 40 targets and each launcher can acquire and couple four targets at a time. The guide is made by a laser beam emitted by the launcher. The missile receives the data through a sensor installed in its tail, which makes it immune to electronic or infrared countermeasures.

At present, systems of this kind in several versions guarantee the protection of the air spaces of Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Besides the prevention of attacks from enemies that use aircraft, machines like those are designed for the anti-aircraft defense of important military and industrial facilities.

In Latin America, they also can be used to fight the drug contraband via air transport from illegal airfields in the Amazonian jungle.

Naturally, the Ministry of the Defense acknowledges the necessity of carrying out a program of modernization of the forces of anti-aircraft defense. It is hoped that the Brazilian government is able to find the necessary resources to finally implement this cooperation that started in 2012.

Marcelo Rech is a journalist and analyst of the Institute InfoRel of International Relations and Defense ( E-mail:

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