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Brazil earmarks strategic partners for 2022-2023 exports

16th February 2022 - 14:00 GMT | by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez in Washington DC

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Could Brazil find new markets for the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano? (Photo: Embraer)

Some unfamiliar names were included in a list of countries Brazil will target for defence equipment exports.

Brazil has ambitious plans for its national defence industry. Defence exports reached around $1.5 billion in 2021, with goals to reach between $4.5 billion and $6 billion in the future.

Against this backdrop, the Brazilian government and defence industries have identified a number of countries as potential customers for their defence technology.

According to the Brazilian association of defence and security industries (ABIMDE), prospects include Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

A 19 January meeting between Brazilian government representatives,  ABIMDE and the Brazilian export and investment agency APEX discussed strategic activities to promote defence and security exports in these markets for the 2022-2023 period.

Colombia is the only Latin American state in the list. It is no stranger to Brazilian defence technology, as the Colombian Air Force already flies Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano aircraft. An ABIMDE representative explained to Shephard that Colombia ‘has carried out major investments in order to strengthen its armed forces’, and there are ‘geographic and cultural factors’ that would facilitate Brazilian exports.

Given the internal security challenges Colombia faces and its tensions with neighbouring Venezuela, Brazil could offer radars and land-based systems such as 6x6 VBTP-MR Guaraní armoured vehicles to the Colombian army.

As for India, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Brazilian interest is understandable given the significant defence budgets of these countries. Brazil could find interest among these militaries for the Embraer KC-390 (even though the Brazilian Air Force has reduced its original requirement for 28 of these transport aircraft).

The mention of Indonesia reflects previous Brazilian efforts to sell two Tupi-class Type 209/1400 submarines to the Indonesian Navy.

Mauritania and the Philippines are not usually associated with Brazilian foreign policy, although the ABIMDE official explained that these nations were ‘singled out in surveys carried out among the Brazilian defence industrial base’.

For cash-strapped defence forces with internal security threats, Brazil could offer the Guaraní, the Iveco LMV-BR 4x4 light multirole vehicle or the Super Tucano; also of interest could be the VBR MSR EE9-Cascavel armoured vehicle, which the Brazilian Army is currently looking to replace, at a discounted price.

Moreover, these armed forces could be in interested in small arms such as assault rifles produced by Taurus.

A deal with Mauritania would help Brazil expand its footprint in Africa. The country already has a defence relationship with South Africa, and has sold Tucanos to Nigeria via the US FMS programme. Speaking to Shephard, Scott Morgan, an analyst of African defence affairs and president of strategic consultancy Red Eagle Enterprises, explained that ‘West Africa is seeking to diversify its suppliers of defence technology as relations sour with the United States and former colonial powers’.

As a result, there is room for new suppliers such as Brazil and Turkey to fill that void, Morgan added whole noting that Mauritania is susceptible to Islamic terrorism given its proximity to Mali.

Additional reporting by Flavia Camargos Pereira, Kansas City

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez

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Wilder Alejandro Sanchez


Wilder Alejandro Sánchez is an analyst who covers defense & security, geopolitical, and trade issues …

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