Brazil Military

Brazil has a population of over 209 million people, making it the fifth most populous country in the world. Its military is made up of three branches: the Brazilian Army, Navy and Air Force. The Brazilian armed forces are responsible for defending the country’s borders and sovereignty. The military also has a role in providing security for Brazil’s natural resources, such as oil and minerals. In terms of defense spending, Brazil is among the top 10 countries in the world. It spends approximately $30 billion on its military annually, making it one of the largest defense budgets in Latin America. Brazil has an active peacekeeping mission in Haiti that has been ongoing since 2004. It is also part of several international missions, including those in Kosovo and East Timor. In addition to its own defense forces, Brazil also participates in multilateral organizations like NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program and South American Defense Council (SADC). See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Brazil.


The defense, which is based on selective military duty with an initial service of twelve months, comprises about 300,000 men with 225,000 men in immediate reserve. The defense can be regarded as a regional instrument of power. It is organized in an army of 189,000 men with 28 brigades adapted to the different terrain conditions. The Navy comprises 33,000 men with four submarines, one aircraft carrier, 18 larger surface combat vessels, 50 patrol boats and three amphibious vessels, as well as a navy corps of 15,000 men and a naval aircraft with 26 fighter aircraft and 26 submarine helicopters. Acquisition of long-range underwater weapon systems is in progress. The Air Force comprises 65,000 men with 320 modern combat aircraft, and in 2006 twelve French Mirage 2000-C were delivered. Half-military security forces as well as army reserves amount to 385,000 men. Trained reserves amount to 1.

The material is of western and indigenous origin. For a fifteen-year period, the defense has been reduced personally and vigorously modernized. Defense costs have increased from 0.8 to 1.6% of GDP in 1985-2005. Brazil participates in a number of UN peacekeeping efforts, including with a brigade in Haiti (1,200 men) and in Ivory Coast, East Timor, Liberia and Sudan. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that BRA stands for Brazil.

Brazil Army

Brazil has a general duty of military service from the age of 18 with first-time service from 12 months to 18 months, but most recruits are exempt. The country contributes personnel to UN operations. The total force figures for Brazil’s armed forces are 334,500 active personnel, with a reserve of 1,340,000 personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, 395,000 semi-military security forces are arriving.

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The army has a staff of 198,000 active personnel, including 70,000 conscripts. Materials include 393 tanks (348 Leopard 1 and 45 M60), 50 lightweight M41 vehicles, 1153 armored personnel vehicles and 187 self-propelled artillery, of which 34 are self-propelled artillery. In addition, the Army has heavy artillery, short range air defense missiles, light air defense artillery and 104 helicopters.

Air Force

The Air Force has a workforce of 67,500 active personnel. Material comprising 46 fighters of a F-5 Tiger II, 49 fighter central AMX, nine antiubåtfly of a P-3 Orion, 19 maritime patrol central EMB-111, eight reconnaissance six ELINT aircraft, five AEW & C-plane, two tankers, seven search and rescue aircraft, 198 transport aircraft, 264 training aircraft (of which 83 Super Tucano can also be used as light attack aircraft), 90 helicopters, including 12 Mi-35 combat helicopters, and five medium- duty drones.

The Navy

The Navy has a staff of 69,000 active personnel, including 16,000 Marines. The fleet includes five tactical submarines, two fighters, nine frigates, 44 patrol vessels, four minesweepers, one dock landing craft, one amphibious assault ship, 19 landing craft and 44 auxiliary vessels. Naval Air Force has 11 attack aircraft of the type A-4 Skyhawk and 73 helicopters.

International operations

Brazil participated in the UN operation in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 2018 with 222 personnel and a frigate, and with observers and a small number of personnel in the UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), at Cyprus (UNFICYP), in Sudan (UNISFA) and in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Nuclear power in Brazil

Brazil has one nuclear power plant with two nuclear reactors, which has a total net output of 1884 MWe. The power plant contributes around three percent of the country’s electricity generation. A third reactor is under construction, but work has so far stopped.

Electricity supply in Brazil

The country’s power generation is mainly based on hydropower, which in 2015 accounted for 360 TWh (62 per cent) of a total power generation of 582 TWh. Production in the country’s nuclear power plants was 15 TWh (2.6 per cent), while the contribution from fossil energy sources such as natural gas, coal and oil was 135 TWh (23 percent). From other renewable energy sources, including waste, production was 71 TWh (12 percent). In addition, the country had a net import of electrical energy of 34 TWh.

The consumption of electrical energy has increased significantly in recent years. Per capita consumption was nearly 2,400 kWh in 2015 compared to 1,500 kWh in 1990. The national power company Eletrobas accounts for 40 percent of the country’s power generation, while around 20 percent is supplied by local energy plants owned by the state. The rest comes from private companies. Private involvement in nuclear power is not open, but this is for consideration.

Development of the nuclear power industry in Brazil

In Brazil, the work of utilizing nuclear energy started as early as the 1950s, and this was escalated during the military regime from 1964 to 1985. The first nuclear power plant, Angra 1, was commissioned in 1970 and the mission was entirely given to Westinghouse. The power plant, which came into operation in 1982, is located on the coast between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Angra 1 was exposed to major operating problems during the first years, with the result that the capacity factor was only around 25 percent. In recent years, the operating situation has improved significantly and the capacity factor has now reached around 90 percent.

In 1975, the government decided that the country should become self-sufficient with nuclear technology and entered into an agreement with West Germany to get support to build 8 new reactors over a 15-year period. The first two reactors (Angra 2 and 3) were to be built with equipment from Kraftwerk Union (KWU). Using technology transfer, the remaining power plants should be based on 90 percent Brazilian equipment. However, financial problems in Brazil led to this work being interrupted. Work on Angra 2 was resumed in 1995 and this reactor came into operation in 2000.

In 2006, the government announced plans to complete Angra 3. The work started in 2010 and by the end of 2013, the plant was about halfway completed. Following an investigation into corruption in 2015, the agreement with the suppliers was suspended. In March 2017, the government announced that it wanted to sell Angra 3. Both Russian and Chinese investors have reported their interest. The plant is expected to be completed by 2023.

Further plans

Hydropower is still the most affordable option for establishing new production capacity in Brazil. However, the dominant role of hydropower makes the country vulnerable to annual variations in rainfall. For example, the drought in 2001 led to an acute shortage of power. This experience has accelerated the development towards using other energy sources to reduce the dependence on hydropower, although these alternatives are more costly. Power from existing nuclear power plants is estimated at $ 75/MWh (øre 55/ kWh), which is about 1.5 times more expensive than from established hydropower plants. From the new Angra 3 power plant, it is expected that produced power will be more than twice as expensive as existing hydroelectric power stations, but still comparable to coal power and less expensive than gas power plants.

Two new nuclear power plants have been proposed, one of which may be located northeast of the country on the river São Francisco between the states of Pernambuco and Bahia. The second is thought to be located southeast of the country in the state of Minas Gerais. Construction work is unlikely to start until after 2020.

Nuclear reactors in Brazil

kernels prosecutor Type MWe In operation
Angra 1 PWR 609 1982
Angra 2 PWR 1 275 2000
Angra 3 PWR 1 270 2023?
SUM (in operation) 2 1 884

Proposed nuclear power plant

nuclear power plants Reactor MWe Construction
Northeast (Pernambuco 4 × PWR ≈ 6000 after 2020
Southeast (Minas Gerais) 4 × PWR ≈ 5000 after 2020