Military Capabilities

Mattis sees future US space opportunities with Brazil

15 August 2018

Sierra Nevada Corp’s weapons integration of Embraer’s Super Tucano aircraft is an example of US-Brazilian defence partnership. Source: Embraer

Key Points

  • Mattis said he sees future opportunities with Brazil for advanced research, particularly in space
  • Brazil has a healthy appetite for enhanced space partnerships, but regulatory problems loom

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis sees future opportunities for advanced research with Brazil, particularly in space, he told an audience at Brazil’s war college on 14 August.

Pentagon spokesperson Commander Sarah Higgins said on 15 August that the Department of Defense (DoD) has a strong science and technology (S&T) relationship with Brazil. She said the two nations signed a space situational awareness (SSA) agreement that will allow them to share information about more than 23,000 objects in orbit, including Brazil’s satellites.

Cdr Higgins said Brazil has revitalised its space programme since a tragic accident more than a decade ago. A rocket exploding at the Alcantara Launch Center (ALC) in northeast Brazil in 2003 caused numerous fatalities.

“The combination of Brazil’s resurgence and the secretary’s directive to transform the relationships makes this an opportune time to collaborate in space,” Cdr Higgins said.

Mattis stopped in Brazil during a South America trip that also will include Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. Mattis also said on 14 August that it is in the United States’ best interests that Brazil’s industrial base be internationally competitive.

Cdr Higgins said the Pentagon is an active member of the US-Brazil Defense Industry Dialogue, led by the Department of Commerce. She said this dialogue aims to bring together industry and government officials to seek ways to develop defence products that could be of mutual interest to Brazil and the United States.

One high profile example of US-Brazil defence industry co-operation is on the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light air support turboprop aircraft.

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