The U.S. Army’s transfer of 50 armored vehicles to the Brazilian Army is scheduled to arrive in Brazil in September. The shipment will include 34 M577A2 command post carriers; 12 M113A2 personnel carriers; and four M88A1 armored recovery vehicles.
The armored vehicles will be used by units of the 5th Armored Cavalry Brigade in Ponta Grossa (state of Paraná) and the 6th Armored Infantry Brigade in Santa Maria (state of Rio Grande do Sul). According to the Army's Social Communication Center (CCOMSEx), “the arrival of these vehicles will add more combat power to our Ground Force.” Both units answer to the Southern Military Command, which controls 75 percent of the Ground Force's mechanized fleet.
The U.S. Army periodically deactivates some of the defense equipment that it no longer requires and proposes transferring the material to its partner nations.
According to U.S. Southern Command, “The vehicles were processed under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) Grant program, while the transfer will be executed via a Foreign Military Sales case.”
The military vehicles that will be sent to the Brazilian Army are, on average, 30 years old. However, authorities interviewed by the CECOMSEx say that the armored vehicles "are like new" and will not be updated before being put into operation in Brazil.
The vehicles have been transferred from two military depots – the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, and the Sierra Army Depot in California – to the port of New York, from where they will be shipped to Brazil by boat. The cargo ship, will ultimately dock and unload the armored vehicles in Paranaguá (in the state of Paraná).
Negotiations between Brazil and the United States were finalized in December 2015. Transport and inspection costs for the armored vehicles will be covered by the Brazilian Army, which estimates a cost of approximately $2 million reais (about US$613,000). Funding comes from the Strategic Project "Achieving Full Operational Capacity" (OCOP), whose purpose is to outfit the Army's operational units with military equipment to meet the country's defense needs.
Vehicles to support armored unit operations
M577A2 command post carriers are new additions to the Brazilian Army's fleet. They are variations of the M113A2 personnel carriers, which are already in use by both the Brazilian Army and Navy. The Brazilian Marine Corps has been using M113 armored vehicles in urban anti-narcotics operations in Rio de Janeiro since 2010.
Both the M113A2 armored vehicle and its variations were designed by the U.S. defense industry. The models were originally developed “to transport combat arms – Infantry and Cavalry – in armored military organizations,” according to CCOMSEx.
The M113A2 and M577A2 vehicles sport similar designs, but the M577A2 is outfitted with an adapted internal layout with a higher ceiling, making it easier to accommodate soldiers.
The M577A2s also include a communication system to contact other ground vehicles in addition to other communication lines, which is what characterizes them as command post carriers. The M113A2s, with their amphibious capabilities in small waterways and their ability to reach high speeds on standard roads, are more often used for transporting personnel.
Finally, the heavy M88A1s tanks are used for vehicle recovery and towing. “These recovery vehicles are intended to lend support to armored troops and provide maintenance for armored vehicles during ground campaigns,” according to CECOMSEx. The M88A1 is also new to the Brazilian military fleet.
All of the new vehicles soon to be incorporated into the Brazilian Army's fleet will be used to support both offensive and defensive operations of large armored military units.
United States, Brazil relationship dates back to postwar period
Agreements to transfer military equipment have existed between the United States and Brazil since the beginning of the 1950s, just after the end of World War II.
The first M113 armored personnel transport vehicles used by the Brazilian Army arrived in the 1960s as the fruit of an agreement similar to the current one. In the years that followed, the Army also received M41 light tanks and a number of other armored vehicles, according to a release issued by the CCOMSEx.
Since 2012, transactions between the United States and Brazil, specifically those related to armored vehicles transferred to the Brazilian Army, are funded by the OCOP Strategic Project OCOP, which includes investments not only in transport, but also in the modernization and revitalization of the equipment.