Portugal Military


The defense is based on NATO membership. Portugal’s territory is part of NATO’s restructured Southern Command with staff in Naples, Italy. A regional NATO planning agency, Joint HQ in Lisbon, has been created, among others. for planning together with the newly created Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia (formerly SACLANT). Under the CFE agreement of 1990, Portugal’s army and air combat forces can reach 75,000 men.

The defense, which is increasingly voluntary, includes (2008) 43,000 men. It has 3 brigades with 1 submarine, 12 frigates/corvette vessels, 17 patrol boats as well as 2 naval infantry battalions and 25 fighter aircraft. The territorial defense is based on the mobilization of 210,000 men, including three brigades. Semi-military security forces amount to 47,000 men. The equipment is semi-modern. In connection with NATO’s restructuring and adaptation to the CFE agreement, Portugal was supplied with 80 modern tanks from the US surplus.

Defense of Portugal costs decreased in 1985-2006 from 3.1% to 1.6% of GDP. Portugal participates in UN peacekeeping activities in Afghanistan (ISAF), Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR), Chad (EUFOR), Lebanon (UNFIL) and Serbia (KFOR). The United States has people stationed in Lajes on the Azores archipelago. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that PRT stands for Portugal.

Portugal Army

Portugal has been a member of NATO since its formation in 1949. The total force for Portugal’s armed forces is 27,200 active personnel, with a reserve of 211,950 (2018, IISS). In addition, the semi-military Republican Guard has a force of 24,700 personnel. The United States has 250 personnel in the Azores.

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The Army has 13,700 active personnel. Materials include 37 tanks of a Leopard 2, 30 reconnaissance vehicles, 397 armored personnel carriers, 26 armored fighters, and 24 self-propelled artillery. In addition, the Army has heavy artillery, short-range air defense missiles and anti-aircraft artillery.

Air Force

The Air Force has a workforce of 5900 active personnel. Material comprising 30 fighters of a F-16, five patrol central Orion seven reconnaissance and surveillance, 13 transport, 16 trainers and 18 helicopters.

The Navy

The Navy has a workforce of 7600 active personnel, including 1250 Marines. The fleet included two tactical underwater boats, five frigates, 20 patrol vessels, and 11 logistics and auxiliary vessels. In addition, the Navy has five Super Lynx helicopters.

International operations

Portugal participated in 2018 including the NATO operation in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 195 personnel, in the UN operation in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with 165 personnel, the EU operation in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA) with 45 personnel.

Portugal also had 34 personnel in Iraq (Operation Inherent Resolve).