Amazon warriors expand their missions

Brazilian Army Aviation

Thirty-three years since its re-establishment, Brazilian Army Aviation is modernising and taking on a wider spectrum of missions, including counterterrorism and helping to preserve the country’s law and order. Santiago Rivas and João Paulo Moralez investigate.

The Exército Brasileiro (EB, Brazilian Army) first made use of air power in 1867, when it successfully employed balloons to reconnoitre the battlefields during the Paraguayan War. In 1914, on the personal initiative of Lieutenant Ricardo João Kirk, a number of fixedwing reconnaissance flights were made in the Contestado War, when elements of the army and national guard were mobilised to fight rebels in the south of the country. Five years later, a more formal initiative provided for the creation of an Aviação Militar (Military Aviation) arm with training, reconnaissance, attack and even fighter aircraft, all based in Rio de Janeiro. This force gradually expanded to other Brazilian cities, gained strategic importance and played a role in the various internal uprisings that took place from 1920.

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