Brazilian brigadier bashes US defense export policies on YouTube

A video has surfaced on YouTube showing a senior Brazilian officer expressing deep frustrations with the US government’s technology transfer policies for military equipment. Complaints about the US government’s technology transfer policies are widespread globally, but this video is remarkable for citing examples in such specific detail, including showing photocopies of US government denial letters.

The two-day-old clip is attributed to a lecture presented last December by Brigadier Engineer Venancio Alvarenga Gomes, the director of projects for Brazil’s command-general for aerospace technology, in Sao Jose dos Campos, which also happens to be where Embraer’s headquarters is located.



The video concludes with a graphic showing a red ‘X’ over a picture of a Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet, which is competing against the Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen for Brazil’s F-X2 deal. According to Google’s translator, the title of the slide says: “USA not technology transfer”. It does not appear that the final slide was included in Gomes’ presentation. It may have been added after that event by the YouTube poster.

Gomes presents a series of case studies to illustrate his frustrations of doing business with the US military. His examples include sudden policy changes by the US Department of State that revoked export licenses for two US-made systems — Northrop Grumman’s LN100G navigation system and a Honeywell navigation system — that were already in production on Brazilian military aircraft.

“Sudden changes in policy of exporting is already generating uncertainty,” Gomes writes on a slide, according to Google translator.

Gomes’ presentation even included photocopied memos apparently by US Navy and Department of State officials, denying Brazilian requests for US-made components to upgrade a Brazilian missile called the Mectron MAA-1B Piranha 2.

An excerpt from one of the photocopied memos, signed by a US Navy official, is highlighted on Gomes’ slide and says: “The use of two-color infrared detector arrays could potentially result in a significant upgrade of the Sidewinder missile seeker capability against decoys and countermeasures.” Although the next sentence on the memo was not highlighted, it explained in English that Brazil had not described the MAA-1B development program in “sufficient detail” to allow the US Navy officials to perform a proper assessment.

If any of you know Portugese, please help translate the brigadier’s remarks.

3 Responses to Brazilian brigadier bashes US defense export policies on YouTube

  1. Royce 9 October, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    It’s hard to see how U.S. defense export policies are unreasonable when so many countries have bought so much equipment from U.S. vendors over the years. What this is sounds like is a desire to help Embraer get into the fighter business. If so, Dassault or Saab is the better choice.

  2. Rob Evers 10 October, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    1) a lot of the cases he cites are very old, and stem from the era when Brig. Hugo Piva was viewed as an international renegade at CTA developing Piranha missiles in asserted contravention of international norms (and supporting Saddam Hussein after the US fell out of love with him), and when Brazil was still a military dictatorship. (He had also asserted Brazil’s ability to build an atomic bomb, a rather unpopular thing to say with Washington listening. See page 38 of http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA349699&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf )
    That era engendered a lot of hostility in the US arms control community that has taken a long time to overcome.
    (2) even up to late 90s the political climate was still uncertain so this fallout continued. But I note The Brigadeiro never cited to any ITAR problems with SIVAM/SIPAM (1990s); there weren’t any so far as I know and Raytheon US was prime and this was a huge program.
    (3) some more recent ones are seriously overstated, as they were not outright rejections, but result of poor applications being submitted, or a misunderstanding about provisos and/or failure to seek reconsideration.
    (4) one case, the VLS metalization one, was pure phoney nonsense — the US company was just too lazy ignorant and cheap even to apply for an ITAR license, there was no State Dept denial. And the excuse the US company gave was pure rubbish. If the Brazilians had been smart, they would have had the military commission in DC apply for the ITAR license and call the company’s bluff. They should not have cancelled the contract, they should have sued the company. Muito estúpido.

    This is all extremely unhelpful claptrap as the US and Brazil endeavor to improve and strengthen relations, and could easily be mistaken for anti-US commercial propaganda. That’s how I see it. The Brigadeiro’s remarks were totally lacking in Ordem and completely destructive to Progresso.
    Don’t waste your time trying to get a translation; I can tell you it is not worth it.

  3. K.B. 16 October, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    As these problems are supposed to be all water under the bridge, why has Germany still problems in acquiring US defence equipment? A secret WMD-program perhaps?

    Two examples:

    1. The German MoD planned to lease MALE-drones (project SAATEG).
    Although the offer of General Atomics (together with DIEHL) to lease MQ-9 Reaper under FMS was the cheapest one, Germany decided to select the IAI Heron (offered together with Rheinmetall). The reasons for this decision were, according to State Secretary Wolf, the negative experiences with former FMS programs (Global Hawk, etc.).
    Link: http://www.geopowers.com/Machte/Deutschland/Rustung/Rustung_2009_II/rustung_2009_ii.html (German language)

    2. The US export policy concerning Night Vision Goggles is not very cooperative.
    The performance of 3rd generation NVGs for the export market (i.e. Germany) is considerable lower than the performance of the ones for the domestic market.

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