Brazilian defense industry gets a boost under Bolsonaro

Global Business

Brazilian defense industry gets a boost under Bolsonaro

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is dramatically changing how the country is run- from its economics to diplomacy to industry. Thanks to his pro-military stance, defense companies all over the world are hoping Brazil represents a profit windfall.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports.

Small guns are a big attraction at this year’s LAAD- Latin America’s Aerospace and Defense expo- open only to the military, government officials and weapon systems professionals.

Organizers are expecting more than 35,000 visitors to the four-day event — and high enthusiasm following installment of Brazil’s new pro-gun, pro-military president, Jair Bolsonaro.

“We have a new political cycle that just began in January this year,” Sergio Jardim, director of the summit said, “so the expectation and the hopes of the whole business sector are very positive about the future.”

Brazil has historically relied on domestic defense firms to supply its police and military- with yearly sales reportedly totaling some $52 billion. But in the era of Bolsonaro, foreign manufacturers are sensing opportunity- and new hope- for getting a piece of Brazil’s expanding defense sector.

Everything from sophisticated missile systems, shoulder mounted grenade launchers and state-of-the-art radar systems are on display. This Gripin fighter jet, from Swedish maker Saab, boasting bombs and missiles proved a popular attraction and photo opportunity for fair attendees.

China’s Hytera is a world-leading mobile radio equipment firm and is showcasing a new product, what they are calling a smart radio.

“If you find someone you take a picture, you send this picture of the man to the control center and the control center can know all the background, the performance of this guy and can give you the feedback immediately,” John Zhou, General Manager of Hytera said.

And while the Brazilian market is the main attraction, vendors are also pitching to other Latin American militaries.

A total of 450 Brazilian and foreign companies are gathering here at the fair to sell military equipment and weapons to representatives from more than 80 countries.

But those expecting major government and private contracts from Brazil, experts say, will need to wait until Latin America’s largest economy gets its budget back on track.