Brazil pitches a pan-South American arms industry


South America’s massive re-armament — some say arms race — has spotlighted the continent’s dormant defense industry. As Forecast International analyst Rebecca Barrett told Flight International last spring, native arms suppliers — Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina, Brazil’s Embraer and Chile’s Enaer — play only bit roles in the recent build-up.

“As a result, the Latin American market is dominated by the French, Israelis, Russians and, where foreign policy allows, the USA,” Flight reported.

It’s now become clear that Brazil wants to change all of that. In September, Brasilia committed to rebuild its defense industrial base, with its upcoming fighter contract paving the way for technology transfer.

More recently, Brazil has proposed [Warning: Portugese-language link; use Google translator] a new organization called South America Defense to coordinate and revitalize the arms industry across the region. In a recent speech, here’s how Brazil Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim proposed divvying up the industry.

  • Argentina: Uniforms
  • Paraguay: Ammunition
  • Colombia: Armor
  • Venezuela: Armor
  • Chile: Aircraft components
  • Brazil: Aircraft


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6 Responses to Brazil pitches a pan-South American arms industry

  1. Royce 12 November, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    So Brazil proposes a pan-continental arms industry while reserving for itself the sweetest plum. That’s going to go over well.

  2. Jimmy 12 November, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    Why did the Argentines get stuck w/ the lowest profile item, uniforms? Is Argentina like China for the US, where the rest of South America outsource their labor-intensive industries?

    And of course Brazil gets aircrafts.

    Although, military uniforms could be lucrative. You can take the black or blue jackets made by Polartec, slap some camouflage on them, and sell them for twice the original price. That’s 50% profit there!

  3. Renato Monteiro 12 November, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    Brazil is the only country in Latin America who produces (design and build) airplanes, so makes sense that it gets the aircraft deal. Brazil has the 3rd largest civil aircraft manufacturer: Embraer.
    In Chile Enaer is an Embraer’s supplier.

  4. Keith Campbell 13 November, 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    You have misunderstood what Defence Minister Jobim said.He cited the fact that the Brazilian Army buys its tunics from China, & asked why they couldn’t be sourced from Argentina, which has a textile industry, instead. Regarding the other countries, in each case he was suggesting joint projects between Brazil and them, in the sectors named.

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