Israel’s largest private military supply company, Elbit Systems Ltd., announced its $100 million contract with its Brazilian subsidiary on Sunday. Elbit’s Brazilian daughter company, Ares Aeroespacial e Defesa S.A., will supply the Brazilian army with remote-controlled weapon stations.
These control stations, named REMAX, will operate in the Brazilian Army Guarani 6X6 vehicles. The weapon stations control 12.7/7.62 mm machine guns, used in combat and for the secure transportation of troops. Since Brazil isn’t actively in combat, these stations will likely serve for border patrol and peace-keeping missions. Brazil’s army has already put down its first order of about $7.5 million.
Brazil’s military market
“Brazil is a very important market for Elbit Systems,” Bezhalel Machlis, president and CEO of Elbit Systems, told the Israeli press. Moreover, the demand for these remote-controlled stations has risen across the world.
In fact, Latin America as a region accounted for 10 percent of the Israeli company’s revenues in 2015. Meanwhile, the U.S. alone accounted for a quarter of sales, and Israel one-fifth.
Elbit Systems Ltd. and its daughter companies specialize in manufacturing defense systems for military and civilian use. The company sells products in the fields of communications, land and naval systems, aerospace, and drones.
Back in March 2014, Brazil’s Air Force bought Elbit’s 900 Hermes unmanned aircraft system. The Brazilian Air Force also utilized Elbit’s smaller drones to secure major events like that year’s FIFA World Cup, for which the Brazilian federal government invested $1 billion in security alone. According to the government, military security measures are taken in the case of terrorism and street protests.
Brazil hasn’t always agreed with Israeli politics, and its binational military contracts have suffered because of this. Back in October 2014, Brazil canceled its $2.2 billion contract with Israeli firm International Security and Defence Systems (ISDS) for the Rio Olympics following a campaign by Pro-Palestine activists and over 30 Brazilian social movements. Later that year, the state of Rio Grande do Sul canceled its contract with Elbit Systems Ltd. to develop an aerospace research center.
In addition to its conflict with Palestine, Israeli military firms have long participated in the militarization of Central and South American dictatorships.