Half of Brazil’s Armaments Are Not Available for Use, Study Says

By Dialogo
March 15, 2011

it is an embarassment!
Approximately half of Brazil’s major defense equipment, such as armored vehicles, planes, and ships, is not available for use, according to a Defense Ministry study made public on 13 March by the daily Folha de São Paulo.

The Navy, considered the best-equipped branch of the military, has 132 of its 318 major pieces of equipment out of operation, according to the newspaper, which affirms that it has had access to the detailed inventory.

Half of the Navy’s ninety-two ships are in dry dock, only two of its twenty-three fighter planes fly, and its aircraft carrier – the São Paulo – was out of operation for two years and is now in a testing phase.

Of the Army’s 1,953 armored vehicles, slightly more than half are available, and scarcely thirty-seven of its seventy-nine helicopters are functioning.

In the Air Force, 85 of the 208 fighter planes listed in the inventory are in use, and twenty-seven of the seventy-three helicopters, according to Folha. In contrast, the paper revealed that the forty-eight missile launchers are functioning.

Following years of reduced state investment under the administration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), the Defense Ministry has developed a plan to modernize the Armed Forces, including a recent purchase of helicopters and submarines from France, which will eventually be built in the country, worth millions.

This plan, which also aims to reactivate the Brazilian defense industry, additionally seeks to renew the fleet of fighter planes with latest-generation models, but that competition has been delayed due to the administration’s revised budget, which cut spending by thirty billion dollars, 8% of that from the Defense Ministry.