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Brazilian Army mulls loitering munitions and armed UAVs

The Brazilian Army uses the hand-launched FT-100 fixed-wing ISTAR tactical UAV for different applications. (FT SISTEMAS S/A)

The Brazilian Army is seeking to adopt unmanned combat tactical effectors such as loitering munitions and armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The army is conducting preliminary studies that are expected to culminate with the publication of requirements for such systems over the next few years, Lieutenant Colonel Leonardo Gomes Saraiva, Army High-Staff supervisor of the Subprogram Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (SPrg SARP), told Janes .

Acquiring loitering munitions is planned for the short term, while the Category 0, 1, 2, or 4 armed UAVs with beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) capability are to be procured in a short to medium term.

The SPrg SARP, part of the Army Strategic Program Obtaining Full Operational Capability (Prg EE OCOP), is aimed at acquiring unmanned systems for roles such as intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR); electronic signals intelligence (ELINT); communications intelligence; logistics, fire support and command-and-control, and to support the Brazilian Defence Technological and Industrial Base. Final administrative activities to formally establish the SPrg SARP will occur in 2022, Lt Coronel Saraiva said.

The effort is scheduled to run from 2022–39 and covers procurement of Category 0, 1, and 2 UAVs, together with the loitering munitions and armed UAVs.

The acquisition of category 0 fixed-wing or rotary-wing UAVs to replace existing commercial systems – including DJI's Phantom and Mavic family of rotary-wing UAVs – is scheduled for 2022. For this, Brazil is seeking a system with a maximum operation ceiling of 3,000 ft, range between 2 km and 5 km, weight of less than 10 kg, and minimum autonomy of 30 minutes.

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